Monday, February 1, 2010

7-"Everything begins with a story" and the story of Season 6 is right around the corner!

Well, life has interupted my overly ambitous blogging plan, and the season premiere of Lost is only 24 hours away. I am going to put my plan to unveil the most cracked of all cracked pot theores on hold temporarily. With any luck the premiere will blow away it's foundations before the first commercial. The planned post to review the fortune told to Roland the Gunslinger will also be put temporarily on hold. But I do plan to post the fortune, as retold through Lost characters along with a review of Lost character's daddy issues very shortly. I hope between the fortune and a family tree for Losties, we will begin to see some patterns and possibly define any hidden relationships between the characters. (As in: is anyone else kissing their sister, Shannon/Boone, and is Jacob's tapestry actually a family tree containing more than one Lostie?)

But in any case, my last post dealt extensively with mythological comparisons between Lost, the Dark Tower Series and the Grail Quest. I based a great deal of my analaysis on the wonderful work of Joseph Campbell. Not ony is Joseph Campbell one of the renowned experts in the world's mythology, but he also wrote extensively on the power of myth in a modern world and how it could play a transformative role in shaping the lives of modern individuals. He believed that mythology could help people find and follow their bliss. For Campbell 'following your bliss' isn't just doing what you like, and certainly not just doing what you are told, but it is about discovering and choosing to be truely passionate about your life's pursuit. Doing so will allow you to reach your truest potential and be of the greatest possible service to your community. That's quite a tall order for a story. But then Campbell believed...
 "Everything begins with a story" 
 (Joseph Campbell)
 Artists and the storyteller have a key role in the mythic adventure. Through symbolism and metaphor, they bring into being a mythological reality and inspire us to open the door to our imagination and gain entrance to a larger world, and a larger role for ourselves, than we thought possible. We are not alone on our journey, all the heroes who have ever lived have gone on to mark the trail, but it is the story teller who brings to life the journeys of all the ages for us to share and take part. In ancient times, shaman's and holy men sought to walk unknown paths to find guidance and help for the people of their community. But it has always been the story teller who translates the shaman or hero's experience with the unknown, the mysterious and the unintelligible, in order to share it with the community. Story tellers capture and captivate an auidance. They transform people into an audiance, in order to allow them to watch the living drama of which they are a part. Story tellers translate that living drama and fashion it through shared symbolism so they can comprehend and become re-invested in. Story tellers transform the retold story of the audiance's lives into the mythic adventures of their hopes and dreams and offer paths that they can aspire to follow. And the magic of that journey can be kindled with each dawn, for each person. Like a play running for years at the same venue, each performance is created anew and each person and each performance has the potential for unlocking the mysteries, touching the unfathamable, and following the hero's path to their bliss, reinvented and retold each day of their lives.

In Pathways to Bliss: Mythology and Personal Transformation, a book drawn from Campbell's late lectures and workshops, he says about artists and the monomyth:

“ Artists are magical helpers. Evoking symbols and motifs that connect us to our deeper selves, they can help us along the heroic journey of our own lives. ...The artist is meant to put the objects of this world together in such a way that through them you will experience that light, that radiance which is the light of our consciousness and which all things both hide and, when properly looked upon, reveal. The hero journey is one of the universal patterns through which that radiance shows brightly. What I think, is that a good life is one hero journey after another. Over and over again, you are called to the realm of adventure, you are called to new horizons. Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There's always the possibility of a fiasco. But there's also the possibility of bliss".

And what does this mean to the Dark Tower's Gunslinger
In this way Campbell offers Roland the Gunslinger salvation instead of damnation. Instead of an endless failure..a wasted soul, pursuing a withered dream across a wasted land, Roland can be reborn anew, choosing to renenter the cycle of the hero's journey, not damned to repeat the same mistakes, the same loss, the same sacrifices of innocent lambs, but blessed to reach yet again for his bliss as a gunslinger.

And how does the importance of the story teller as 'magical helper' related to the Dark Tower?
Joseph Campbell notes: "Schopenhauer, in his splendid essay called "On an Apparent Intention in the Fate of the Individual," points out that when you reach an advanced age and look back over your lifetime, it can seem to have had a consistent order and plan, as though composed by some novelist. Events that when they occurred had seemed accidental and of little moment turn out to have been indispensable factors in the composition of a consistent plot. So who composed that plot? Schopenhauer suggests that just as your dreams are composed by an aspect of yourself of which your consciousness is unaware, so, too, your whole life is composed by the will within you. And just as people whom you will have met apparently by mere chance became leading agents in the structuring of your life, so, too, will you have served unknowingly as an agent, giving meaning to the lives of others, The whole thing gears together like one big symphony, with everything unconsciously structuring everything else. And Schopenhauer concludes that it is as though our lives were the features of the one great dream of a single dreamer in which all the dream characters dream, too; so that everything links to everything else, moved by the one will to life which is the universal will in nature.

!!!"Spoiler Alert: For Dark Tower"!!!
In this way, the literary technique used by Stephen King in his Dark Tower series to break down the wall between the story and the reader, in which, not only does Stephen King enter into his own story, but the story's characters interact to save the author's life and the story unfolds once it is written to save all of reality. That's a very powerful example of 'Breaking the fourth wall' which is a common theme in Stephen King's work. In quite a few of his stories, characers come to life to enter the waking world of the readers. But more importantly, this literary technique is in fact, a metaphor for the importance of the role of a story teller creating the mythic tale within the Dark Tower series and immersing his audiance in that tale. Indeed, this technique turns the more traditional "Suspension of disbelief " on it's head. Traditionally, suspension of disbelief is a way in which story tellers can allow audiances to connect with extrodinary events and to usher them onto and through the mythic adventures that are then available to them in their own lives. Here this breaking of the 4th wall shows the power of these crafted stories, these mythic journeys to affect the waking world.

And how's this related to Lost
For Lost, presently we have only been teased with various literary techniques and episode themes cracking at that 4th wall. Expose is a one example. But if Sawyer is to be believed, "It's all in the details...and they are wrong", then possibly all the little continuity 'errors' and 'bloopers' are more than misaligned details. Maybe they are at the heart of a more profound literary technique for illuminating the personal experience of each character, as Schopenhauer stated "all the dream characters dream, too" so reality is literally recreated from each person's point of view.

But whether the dreamer(s) Schopenhauer talks about are all the collective Lost characters or perhaps just a choosen few; perhaps one resting in light and another in shaddow, one is an old, white haired man dreaming unconsious next to Michael when he awakens after his car accident in "Meet Kevin Johnson" or a old man horsely whispering "help me" to John Locke in "The man behind the curtain", or perhaps the dreamer is a story teller like Stephen King, perhaps a story teller/writer/producer who has little use for a hairbrush (which might explain why no one packed a hairbrush in their suitcases--see Claire & Kate's conversation in White Rabbit) who has yet to break through the fourth wall onto the stage of Lost,  the true test of Lost's worth as a story will be in it's ability to allow us to feel compassion for the individuals thrust into a mythic adventure and to live through the consequences and morality of their choices. To experience their hopes for salvation, and the small victories they enact; as well as to share in their tears in their struggles and to feel for all who are Lost.

Season six begins anew. Destiny will be found, and the characters we've grown to love and hate (and love again) will trod once more onto the hero's path and be reborn with each step. And so the story turns...

Buddhist Wheel of Becomming/Wheel of Life

Tibetian Wheeel of Dharmacakra

or at least Lost donkey wheel that some poor slub has got to turn again and again.

Well I can understand if you found this a little dry, but there's less then 21  hours left before Lost knocks our socks off, so perhaps you can forgive me for dumping such a dense load of mythological meanderings on you, mere hours before the beginning of the end. It is a subject that I find facinating and whether you agree with that or not I am sure we will all be in agreement in rediscovering our love for Lost in it's sixth and final season.

take it easy, it ain't all half bad
mr badd

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