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LOST Theories So you think you know some secrets of the island? Maybe you can explain everything. If it's original and you can back it up, we'd love to hear it.

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Old 03-17-06, 04:45 PM   #1
bigmouth
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The Social Contract and LeviEthan

Something has been bothering me ever since Maternity Leave. Ethan made a point of stressing to Claire that she had a "choice" whether to give them the baby. What's more, Ethan's charm offensive worked -- Claire was willing to hand over Aaron a second time. Some of this can be dismissed as dramatic effect, but I've had a nagging suspicion that Ethan's preoccupation with choice means something more. Then it hit me.

Since the beginnng of this show, we've been inundated by social contract references. Locke and Rousseau are two of the most prominent social contract theorists in history. And a lot of the dilemmas our losties face from week to week (e.g., whether to move into the caves, who controls the guns, whether to raise an army) touch upon central questions of social contract theory.

So too does the question of choice. The basic idea behind the social contract is that people in the state of nature choose to give up some freedom to gain the greater benefits of society. How much freedom you sacrifice depends on your view of human nature. Locke was fairly optimistic, meaning folks retain the most freedom in his social contract. Rousseau was more pessimistic, and so subordinates more freedom to the "general will."

Perhaps the most pessimistic social contract theorist was Thomas Hobbes, whom I haven't mentioned. Hobbe's had the darkest view of human nature, famously positing that life in the state of nature was "solitary, nasty, brutish, and short." As a result, Hobbes concluded that human beings would freely choose to subordinate themselves utterly and completely to a monolithic state he termed Leviathan.

Which brings me back to Ethan and the Family. We already have a Locke and a Rousseau on the show. I can't help thinking we've met our Hobbesian LeviEthan as well. You have the choice to submit, but once you do, the Family can do what it wants, even kill you.
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Old 03-17-06, 05:09 PM   #2
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Re: The Social Contract and LeviEthan

Claire was drugged. In order to keep everything going smoothly he con'ed her by making her think she wanted to give the baby away. Hense the baby room. I'm guessing they didnt want her to hurt the baby or herself so they kept her sedated.
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Old 03-17-06, 05:11 PM   #3
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Re: The Social Contract and LeviEthan

That's a great observation. Ethan telling Claire she had to make the choice was bizarre and couldn't be relegated to Claire misunderstanding in her drugged state, imo. It makes far more sense for Ethan to have just said Claire and the baby would join them together. But he didn't say that - he said she had to chose to abandon the baby.

Interesting that drugs and manipulation are acceptable tools for obtaining the contract. More like a contract with the Devil.
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Old 03-17-06, 05:15 PM   #4
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Re: The Social Contract and LeviEthan

In the oppososite way, Locke gave Charlie the choice to quit using drugs to get his guitar back.
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Old 03-17-06, 05:44 PM   #5
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Re: The Social Contract and LeviEthan

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigmouth
So too does the question of choice. The basic idea behind the social contract is that people in the state of nature choose to give up some freedom to gain the greater benefits of society. How much freedom you sacrifice depends on your view of human nature.
I've posited before that this is the basic theme of Lost.

It's one reason I don't favor theories that include any version of telepathic mind control. We've seen and will continue to see attempts at manipulation. But persons choose or not to be manipulated, whereas telepathic mind control takes away all choice and relduces the characters to puppets.

Quote:
Locke was fairly optimistic, meaning folks retain the most freedom in his social contract. Rousseau was more pessimistic, and so subordinates more freedom to the "general will."
I referenced the same positions. The selection of these two character names was significant, and each is true to their namesake. There have been many posts about "faith vs science" and "fate vs destiny", with valid points. Imo, however, these are side issues. The contrast and compromises between nature~freedom~individuality and technology~society~structure~civilization is the underlying theme which will becoming increasingly clear as the show progresses.

Last edited by lostmio; 03-17-06 at 05:59 PM.
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Old 03-17-06, 06:04 PM   #6
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Re: The Social Contract and LeviEthan

There are general questions in LOST in terms to whom do the characters give their choice/consent for the sake of security. The most security perhaps comes with Ethan and his crowd but of course freedom (and reality?) are the prices there. That would fit the Leviathan construct---like the LeviEthan respelling btw! The next highest social security comes with the Lostians. They tend to defend against the outside enemy (when they remember to) but there is so much instability within, a climbing to the top based on one's own skills, that those left on the outside are vulnerable to bad judgment: the Sawyer & Charlie plot; Michael running off to find Walt (but I would do this too); Boone joining Locke's obsession with the hatch. Even the leaders as such make bad judgment calls! Oh well, such is the nature of the lack of force and drug and brainwashing in one's ruling strategy! Meanwhile, offering the least social security but the most freedom (???) is the Rousseau way of life. In the wilderness, reliant on self, but without the social ties that humans require not so grounded in reality.

There are a couple of Thomas' floating about in the flashbacks. One met his end in Kate's flight in Born to Run. The other was Aaron's father, wasn't it, the guy who ditched Claire in Australia? Thomas, as has been pointed out many times, means twin. And would it be right that within a system where one would give one's freedom in exchange for security that there would be a blending of identities? I am ready for the head of Dharma to be names Thomas something, or Mr. Thomas, or something goony like Thomas Thomson. Just to mess with our minds.
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Old 04-26-06, 08:45 PM   #7
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Re: The Social Contract and LeviEthan

Was thinking of this thread again today.

What if the island is a composite of philosophical viewpoints, living beings embodying the characteristics of these different purist philosophical archetypes.

What if they are there to duke it out. A darwinian construct housing the arena of these philosphies. Putting it to the test at the same point in time, one against the other, strongest philosophy with most staying power wins.

(having a polytheistic day) Visions of gods, separating the humans down to the basic pure achetypes, and letting them have it out with each other in the areana. TV viewers as gods, watching for entertainment.
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Old 04-27-06, 07:50 PM   #8
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Re: The Social Contract and LeviEthan

Another instance of choice:

When Sayid tackled Shannon and kept her from killing Locke. Later, Kate tells Sayid, "you had no choice." Sayid's response, "There is always a choice."
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Old 04-27-06, 11:15 PM   #9
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Re: The Social Contract and LeviEthan

Love the "LeviEthan" thing. Very creative. We've been wondering when the Hobbes character would show up, and perhaps he has already...

(though I don't think so. haha)
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Old 04-27-06, 11:28 PM   #10
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Re: The Social Contract and LeviEthan

Quote:
Originally Posted by sawyerhasbestlines
Was thinking of this thread again today.

What if the island is a composite of philosophical viewpoints, living beings embodying the characteristics of these different purist philosophical archetypes.

What if they are there to duke it out. A darwinian construct housing the arena of these philosphies. Putting it to the test at the same point in time, one against the other, strongest philosophy with most staying power wins.

(having a polytheistic day) Visions of gods, separating the humans down to the basic pure achetypes, and letting them have it out with each other in the areana. TV viewers as gods, watching for entertainment.
If this theory can be expanded to be more specific, which Losties are which archetypes? And who seems to be winning?

Obviously whatever archetypes Shannon and Boone were didn't have the most staying power...
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