Tuned In

Lost Discussion Group: We're The Good Guys

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On Lost, if it’s not one thing, it’s another. Literally. There’s been plenty written by Lostophiles about the show’s dualities: faith/reason, black/white, destiny vs. free will, and so on. There are probably several weeks’ worth of LDG questions in there, but for now, let’s stick with one: good / evil. Namely:

Who or what are the “good people” the Others are so concerned about, and what is it that makes them good?

This is an interesting question to me for a couple reasons. First, it’s an apparently major, much-repeated theme that, nonetheless, I have no idea about, not even a vague theory.

Second–and I think I may be the only person who’s even interested in this–it seems to me that the Others have some kind of peculiar ethical code that the show has been trying to call our attention to, and that its rules are significant. There have been several references to the fact that free will is important to the Others: Ben, who we know is not above manipulation, threats and brainwashing, will nonetheless tell people that he needs them to want to do certain things, rather than to compel them, and he seems to mean it. (Most notably, when he insists on Jack saving his life willingly, even though he could presumably have abducted and threatened him long ago.) Then there’s the fact that the Others have killed people, and yet seem to have a very sincere taboo against murder, codified in their weird legal processes.

Now the less charitable way of looking at this is that the Others’ ethical codes are simply invented whenever it’s convenient for them, or for Ben, or for the producers. (I.e., Ben needs Jack to want to save him because it makes for a better storyline.) I don’t think so; I think these various references to an Others’ ethical code are too many and too foregrounded to be accidental. I think the Others sincerely believe themselves to be the good guys and have a coherent code of morality and definition of “good.”

However, I have no idea what it is, so I give you the floor. Do good, or at least do well.