Well, we’ve had Roman Catholicism. Hinduism. Garden Variety Generic Mysticism. Alcoholism. We’ve dabbled in Neuroscience, Quantum Physics, Introduction to Philosophy.
And it all comes down to this….
[Warning: This will exceed my self-imposed limit of 500 words. Because it has to. Read at your own risk. I will try to keep it as brief as possible, but am happy to further discuss in the comments. Of course, watch there be NO comments. It'll be like those lectures where the prof says "any questions" and some lone dude says, after about 45 seconds, "where's the bathroom?" ]
The Island is the Tree Of Life, and the Twins are the Physical Manifestation of the Dual Nature of Man. They are the guardians of the light.
And Lost is finishing up its storylines by tying them all in a big red string bow.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…KABBALAH FOR DUMMIES!
They say you shouldn’t study Kabbalah until you’re 40. How fitting that the season finale of LOST* is taking place on my 40th birthday, especially since it seems to be awash in Kabbalah. I broke the “not fit until 40″ rule and read my first Kabbalah tome at 23. Since then I’ve lost count of the amount of Kabbalah lore and philosophy I’ve ingested. I find it interesting, although I have many quibbles with it on a few levels. (Like you’d expect anything else from Queen Contraria.)
What is Kabbalah? Well, the modern version–which I like to call K-Mart Kabbalah–is the cult Madonna joined when she decided that instead of being a Londoner she wanted to be a Jewish person. This kind of Kabbalah appeals to a lot of Christians, espeically erstwhile Roman Catholics, because it offers a foundational explaination for a lot of the mysticism within Christianity. And the Catholics are generally more in touch with the mystical nature of our faith, given that they haven’t traded in their pomp and liturgy for guitars and sign-language interpretive dance. So when someone talks about the Tree of Life and the power of Resurrection and the Light, Christians can say “hey! That’s what Jesus was on about!” Even though their interpretation of Kabbalic lore is facile at best.
Speaking of Facile, I’m going to attempt to give a thumbnail explanation of Kabbalah. I know that there’s a lot more to it than this, but as they say, the very beginning is a very good place to start.
Kabbalah is Jewish Mysticism. It is perhaps the foundational mystic school of thought underlying Western Philosophy, Science, Medicine and what is erringly called “New Age Spirituality.” There is a lot of Kabbalah in Christianity, and some say that many early Christians and apostles, including St. John The Divine, were Kabbalists. (Not having been there I cannot prove or disprove these claims.)
Step 1: We Are The Offspring Of The Mind Of G-d.
Creation is a sort of G-d-borne entity, all of it existing inside of Divine Reality. Earth, humanity, the entire universe–we are all one cell inside the mind of G-d. G-d is infinite and cannot be known, but we all exist because G-d made it so.
Implications for the Island
‘G-d’ in Kabbalah cannot be known. But there are some branches of Kabbalah that teach there are specific paths toward knowing more about God than the next guy. It looks to me, from the Cave of Light, that this Island is the place on earth where there is sort of a direct hotline to Ein Sof–the infinite mind of God. Because Science borrows so heavily from Kabbalah, starting with Alchemy and moving into modern Quantum Physics, it seems that the authors of the show are going with the idea that the Light in Kabbalah is a tangible Physical as well as metaphysical concept which can rearrange your atoms and id, a la Dr. Manhattan.
Tzimtzum is a form of Kabbalah that teaches that creation was actually G-d withdrawing a part of G-d’s divine light and pouring Us (the universe as we know it) into that vaccuum. So our search for G-d, compelled by our nature, is the never-ending search for Light. As Allison Janney’s Mama–let’s call her Shechina, a good Kabbalic name–explains to the twins “there is a bit of light in everyone, but men are greedy and always want more”. Which is a sort of description of one school of Kabbalic thought.
Step 2: G-d is comprised of both Good and Evil
In Kabbalah, G-d is a dualistic nature, and this nature is best explained by the use of the term Light. The Light, unlike a modern interpration where Light is all Good and wonderful (i.e. stay on the side of light and avoid the dark) the Light of the Kabbalaic G-d exists so brightly because of the constant conflict between Good nature and Bad Nature. Sort of like Nuclear Fusion. (It is here that we see the big departure from Orthodox Christianity and Judaism.)
Implications for the Island
Clearly Jacob and The Dark Twin are the human manifestation of the Dualistic Energies of the Kabbalic light. One cannot survive without the other. But since they are the guardians of the earthly wellspring of The Light, if they were to leave the Island and the Light were to become unleashed, the forces that keep earthly life in balance would be thrown out of whack. What that means is a matter of great debate. Does it just mean this world will not be “right” spiritually? I’m betting, since the writers seem to be in love with Quantum Physics and taking a modern alchemical approach that they are going to view the unleashing of the light much the way Alestair Crowley and The Golden Dawn did. With the Light unleashed, the vacuum in which we exist as part of G-d would be overwhelmed by G-d. We’d all blow up.
These are philosophies and teachings that have been debated for THOUSANDS of years. I’m bemused that they are the underpinnings of a popular television show, to say the least.