An intersting thing about lost is that, in the training video with the 'doomsday countdown clock' episode, they mention that the dharma initiative
was started by sociologists-pyschologists who were working along the lines of 'B F Skinner [garbled]'
Skinner was a sociologist who did lots of work in what is called Behavioural Engineering, and would probably be considered a Sociobiologist and
Evolutionary Psychologist today (as far as I understand). He'd actually make damned good conspiracy fodder, because a lot of what he wrote about
(that I've seen so far anway) is about Control, how it works, what sets it up, etc, and how to more effectively do it. He also wrote a
fictional work called Walden Two, in which he describes a Utopia run on the methods of Behavioral Engineering (ie behaviour modification and
I don't know how much all of that works into the show as itself, but I think that the writers of the show were aware of lots of it.
One thing I quickly realized and was happy to see was that the countdown episode is an example of a fetish. There's no way pushing some stupid
button is going to save the world or prevent its destruction. There's also no way that any mythologic ritual is doing to have the same effect. The
aztecs cut the hearts out of captives and willing sacrifants, to keep the world in balance and in existance. That sacrifice hasn't happened in eons
and obviously the ritual isn't required to sustain the world. Even tho Jack and Lock are emminently sensible people, perhaps even hyper-rational wrt
Jack, they still feel that compulsion to press that button (both are compelled at least).
Now we get to see more of the results of sociological studies. Look at the front section survivors. There're a very large group. We still don't
know everyone that is in the group. They have a rather intricate society with at times, a large division of labour. Everyone needs something to do,
and there's allways something to be done with a group that large, and someone is allways doing something. So everyone is reinforced to make
themselves useful and do something, 'don't want to be a useless shannon'. So there's allways one group moving luggage this way or that and
another stripping stems of leaves or doing whatever. They perform social tasks like a regular community, they have a structure, they moved off the
beach and into a large settlement making use of the natural protection of caves and their water resources, they organized hunting parties, they even
got lists of who was on the plane, organized a census, set up a friggin golf course, and even had a giant group ritual wherein they burned the remians
of those who died in the crash in the remnants of the plane. Their landscape is also rather varied. True, its all a little island with a jungle or a
beach, but they are so intimately involved with it and we can see so many different aspects of it that we recognize some things as being different.
Sometimes they're in a open grassy hillock, other times in those cool and protected caves, sometimes at a waterfall or by a riverside or sometimes in
a special clearing in the jungle. Plus they have boar hunts, go out to gather food, and even unusal clearings where they are planting and
Now look at the tail section survivors. There were very few of them in the first place. The crash in the water. They have no ritual. They have no
division of labour, any one individual has to be able to do everything. Even tho they have a stewardess, they don't even know who else was on
the plane. They are forced from the beach and live in the jungle (certianly thats how they are presented, we don't see them sitting in that place
much in their mini-episode like we often do with the front section survirors in their cave). Also their land is less varied, even tho its the exact
same island. They're on the beach, and then in the jungle, and thats about it. They're less familiar with their environemnet because they are less
invovled with it, its as complex as they need it to be, which isn't much.
The biggest difference tho is how they relate to other people. The front section survivors are threatened by nature, and have to learn to survive in
the wild, but thats about it, certainly early on. They're a large group and don't need to be constantly worried, as individuals, of being snatched
away in the night by boogeymen. Compare that to the tail section survivors. Its exactly what they do have to worry about. From the very begining
they are threatened with death and destruction from that strange outside force, and as such their needs are completely different. No time to go out
and pick seeds to plant in a little garden for them. And look at how the two groups refer to the force of destruction. To the front section
survirors, they are 'others', tho that is picked up from the French Lady, who is mythic and unreal in herself. To the tail section survirors its
'them', a classical reference in the 'paranoid style' that everyone at ATS should be familiar with. They are out to get us. They took one of us
today. They want to kill us.
And even tho, as far as I recall, the front section survivors don't really know anything about the others (at least in the begining), they remain
mute on just what they are. Whereas the tail section survivors have had intimate contact with 'them'. Yet they still refer to them as 'not human,
animals', when clearly they are humans, from the beginging, one of them manages to kill some of them, and mortality is definitive of man.
So in the two groups we see two tribes, each with a different social structure and society, and from that a different level of technology, mostly
dependant upon some rather basic things, like group size and survival.
Interestingly, you can't claim that there is something intrinsic about the two groups that makes them different, because we know that there is at
least one couple that was split into the two groups, which is a decent way of dealing with the 'upbringing' question. A twin would've been a good
addition, to split between the two, also, but that might've been too obvious.
I would also say that in the front section survivors we see some intersting motifs replicated. Sawyer is a rapscallion, heck, even a shape shifter,
thats not his name, his 'form', so to speak. I think many viewers of the show would agree that he's not unlike the 'Trickster' in myth,
sometimes helpful, sometimes hurtful, sometimes necessary, and serious and a bufoon at the same time (sort of like the norse god loki, who is a
trickster god infact).
Jack and Lock are also important characters. Both are sensible individuals. I am tempted to look at the two as something of a dichotomy tho, in the
old Apollonian/Dionysian dichotomy. Jack clearly fits the apollonian ideal, he's super rational, he's the source of law/justice, he has control over
disease, heck, he was even able to threaten that trickster Sawyer to get what he wanted once by threatening him with..plague, by not treating a wound
that would go sceptic. Jack and Lock are clearly also the leader figures fo the group, infact I had thought that it was just Jack at first but after
seeing more episodes (still haven't even see all of the first season), I can see that Lock is actually the one that they look too as a source of
strenght. And of course he is the boar hunter, so he must be solid right? Connecting Lock to dionysus is difficult tho. His sensibility is alright,
but dionysus is still, in the end, seriously wild and orgiastic, his devotees climb mountains in the dead of winter to have wildly violent rites and
are called 'maneads', literally, manic women. On the other hand Lock is a wild-man, in the sense that he is of the wild, he knows how to
survive in the jungle.
Lock is also interesting in a different way. He is very much like a shaman/tribal leader. He knows things about the jungle that the rest of the
group doesn't know. He is able to go out into it for long periods of time, without fear, and come back, magically, with great rewards. And,
importantly, he sends boon on a vision quest / initiation, very much like a shaman.
Perhaps we simply haven't met Dionysus yet tho, or perhaps we won't realize dionysus until the two groups meet, because dionysus and apollo are most
characterised when they are in contrast to one another, so perhaps the groups have to meet and then we will see a dionysus to the apollo of jack.
Indeed, Dionysus if often presented as womanly, foppish, long and wildly haired. The woman leader of the tail section survivors could meet some of
the characeristics of dionysus then, and certainly she seems more like a manead than lock.
So I am suggesting that we can see something about what will happen. Everything thinks its an experiment, but it might be somethign more in keeping
with Walden Two, tho I am only vaguely familiar with it.
I also think that we will see that there are problems integratting the two groups, serious problems, even tho those have already started. A small
warring group of hunters cannot properly fit into a large peaceful group of agriculturalists. Especially interesting will be to see what the
non-crash victims on the island are refered to as and by whom. Does the idea of them being the sinister 'Them' win out and gain converts, or does
the more neutral and passive idea of them being 'Others' win out? How does it all get integrated, if at all?
Anyway, I think that sociological studies play a very large role in this show, and that we will see more motiffs represented in it from lots of
Of course, we have ot keep in mind, there is somethign deeply irrational and unnatural going on on the island. No sociological theory or abstraction
will permit a paralysed man to walk.