Thursday, May 24, 2007

The newspaper clipping from last night's LOST

At the beginning of last night's Lost, Jack (was it just me or did he start looking more and more like Charles Manson as the episode progressed, especially later on with the denim jacket and heavy drugs) sees a newspaper article while flying on the plane. He tears it out and takes it with him and it's seen in most of the "flashbacks" that follow. As we know, it was a news story about someone's death: presumably this is the person in the casket. But who is it?

Well, someone (apparently this came from The Tail Section) got a real good high-def screenshot of one of the very few times that there was a decent enough close-up of the clipping. Here it is:

It looks like the name being referred to could be "Jeremy Bentham". Which as it turns out, with Lost's penchant for naming characters after real-world philosophers, is probably it. Who was Jeremy Bentham? From Wikipedia...

Jeremy Bentham (IPA: ['benθəm] or ['bentəm]) (February 15, 1748 O.S. (February 26, 1748 N.S.) – June 6, 1832) was an English jurist, philosopher, and legal and social reformer. He was a political radical and a leading theorist in Anglo-American philosophy of law. He is best known as an early advocate of utilitarianism and animal rights who influenced the development of liberalism.

Bentham was one of the most influential utilitarians, partially through his writings but particularly through his students all around the world. These included his secretary and collaborator on the utilitarian school of philosophy James Mill, James Mill's son John Stuart Mill, and several political leaders (and Robert Owen, who later became a founder of socialism).

But check this out...
Among his many proposals for legal and social reform was a design for a prison building he called the Panopticon. Although it was never built, the idea had an important influence upon later generations of thinkers. Twentieth-century French philosopher Michel Foucault argued that the Panopticon was paradigmatic of a whole raft of nineteenth-century 'disciplinary' institutions.
And what was the Panopticon prison supposed to be, exactly? Again from Wikipedia:
The Panopticon is a type of prison building designed by English philosopher Jeremy Bentham in the late eighteenth century. The concept of the design is to allow an observer to observe (-opticon) all (pan-) prisoners without the prisoners being able to tell if they are being observed or not, thus conveying a "sentiment of an invisible omniscience." In his own words, Bentham described the Panopticon as "a new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example."
Sounds suspiciously like some of the stuff that's been going on with the Island.

Ever since last night I thought that the person in the casket was someone we already knew. But it looks like it's going to be someone we haven't seen yet. And my guess is they have a major connection to the purpose of the Island.

Methinks Lindelof and Cuse (the producers of Lost) have given us plenty to pursue and contemplate and fill up the Internets with crazy theories about between now and next winter!


Anonymous said...

Haha! You were right - and so was I - the man in the casket IS someont we know, and it's someone with another philosopher's name. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

England Calling. Just had a 2 hour double bill of the season finale. Absolutely brilliant. My Wife and I love this show. Kinda guessed it was Locke in the coffin, though. For further thoughts on John Benthams' Panopticon and the effects that it could have on our modern society, read the novels of The Fourth Realm by John Twelve Hawks. You might quite like them too...