by S. Brent Plate
“This is the end, my only friend the end . . . I’ll never look into your eyes again”
-Jim Morrison/ The Doors.
Along with 10-20 million others, I just left the island for good, saying goodbye to my friends who have occupied me for the past few years: the scientists and skeptics, the faithful and flaky, those motivated by riches, those by redemption, those by reincarnation. “I had not thought death had undone so many,” said T.S. Eliot in “The Wasteland.” But what does death undo and redo?
There’ll be plenty in the news about the fallout, the end, but here is one thing that won’t be much mentioned in the mainstream press: Everyone needs help. Everyone needs someone else. Everyone dies. Even the heroes of Lost are not told “you are one of a kind,” but rather, “Now you’re like me.” To be special means you take your place in line among others: adoptive mothers, friends, and comrades. You are one of many, which doesn’t diminish their responsibilities.
In “the end,” Lost is finally about the acceptance of mortality, our communal fate. Whether Jacob or Esau, black or white, water or fire, Austen or Alpert, we will all die.
In the end of the finale, the survivors meet in a church, at a funeral. The final scene takes place with Jack at a coffin, evacuated by his father “Christian Shephard.” Christian appears resurrected to Jack, and makes his appearance framed by a stained glass window filled with symbols of the “world religions”: the Hindu sacred syllable “aum” meets the Islamic crescent moon and star, meets the Taoist yin/yang icon, the star of David, the Buddha dharma wheel, and the Christian cross. All religions come together in/over/about death.
“Christian Shephard” says as much in the sideways world. This is the world of the dead, the place, Christian says to Jack, “you all made so you could find one another.” And further, “Nobody does it alone, Jack. You needed them, and they needed you.” This is “To Remember. And to let go. Not leaving, but moving along.” The end is the acceptance of mortality. We all die.
And in the same time frame that many discussed the fate of survivors of Oceanic flight 815, we also learned the fate of survivors and the 150+ dead of India Air flight 812.
If the beginning of “The End” can be summarized with The Doors, it ends with the Flaming Lips lyrics from the song “Do you realize”:
Do you realize, that you have the most beautiful face. . . . that we’re floating in space.
Do you realize, that everyone, some day, will die.
You realize the sun doesn’t go down
Its just an illusion caused by the world spinning round.
Read Plate’s full review at Religion Dispatches.