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Many characters in LOST are references to past historians, theologians and philosophers.
The character of John Locke shares a name with a famous English philosopher and social theorist. The philosopher John Locke is regarded as one of the greatest contributors to the liberal theory, as well as one of the greatest political philosophers of all time.
John Locke was born on August 29, 1633 in Wrington, Somerset, approximately 18 kilometers from Bristol. Locke was sent to the prestigious Westminster School in London, and received an extensive list of degrees in medicine. Although a capable student, Locke was irritated by the undergraduate curriculum of the time. He found reading modern philosophers, such as René Descartes, more interesting than the classical material taught at the university. In his lifetime, Locke experienced the Great Plague of London and the Great London Fire. John Locke died in 1704 after a prolonged decline in health, and was never married nor had any children.
The philosopher's concept contended that humans are born with a blank slate, or "tabula rasa", without any knowledge or experience, and their identity is therefore a product of their decisions and choices in life. Locke contends that humans are not born with "original sin" as some faiths suggest, but that we are who we make ourselves to be, and we can only form an identity based on what we do or how we act.
Locke developed a social theory that a government could only be legitimate if it received the consent of the citizens it governed, and also if it protected the natural rights of life, liberty, and estate. If the government took control without such consent from the masses, Locke argued that the populus had the right to rebellion against its leaders.
Theory on PropertyEdit
Locke's theory on the possession of property was that a person could truly own an object only if that person used and enjoyed that object. Under this theory, the economy could be as efficient as possible, as no property would be wasted or misused. Locke also believed that the addition of labour to a natural product would allow a man to make that product his own. In this way, labour is the guiding force behind the acquisition of property. Locke theorized that the government would not be able to arbitrarily take property from its people under this ideal, as property precedes government. This theory is one of the greatest influences on the ideals behind the modern age of society.
- Read more about John Locke at Wikipedia
Danielle Rousseau shares a surname with the Franco-Swiss philosopher whose ideals influenced the French Revolution, the development of the Socialist movement, and nationalism. Rousseau has a legacy as a radical, and his attitudes toward man kind are best summarized with the quote:
"Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains."
Rousseau was born in Geneva, Switzerland. His mother died a week after his birth, and his father abandoned him in order to avoid imprisonment for fighting a duel. Hence, Rousseau received the majority of his education from reading alone. Rousseau's view on religion and nature often had him at odds with the ruling government in France and in Geneva, and despite the fact many of his works were banned for criticizing religion, Rousseau continued to write until his death on July 2, 1778.
Nature vs. SocietyEdit
Rousseau saw a fundamental divide between society and nature. He theorized that man was good by nature, a "noble savage" as he called it, but can be corrupted by society. Rousseau viewed society as an artificial entity whose development counter acted against the natural development of mankind. He elaborates by saying that society has created many false ideals in man, such as pride. Rousseau suggests that man is forced to compare himself to others do to his latent sense of self preservation and reason. Doing so creates unwarranted fear in man, and allows men to take pleasure in the misery of others. Rousseau theorizes that the desire for man to have value in the eyes of others, or vanity, undermines personal integrity and destroys the true nature of friendship, replacing it with jealousy and suspicion.
The Social ContractEdit
Rousseau's social contract outlines the basis for what he feels is a legitimate political order. He claims that the state of nature will degrade into savagery without law and morality, at which point man must adopt a system of law or perish. In this case, men are in constant competition with each other while still being dependent on others for survival. Therefore, the social contract says that society must accept laws from the general will of the people, in order to ensure the freedom of man while still enforcing the needed order. The government is simply in charge of implementing and enforcing the will of the people.
Rousseau's view that man was good by nature conflicted with the idea of original sin prevalent in Catholic Paris during his lifetime. Rousseau argued that the followers of Jesus would not make good citizens in his Social Contract. His views led to the condemnation of his books and materials at the hands of Catholic Paris and Calvinist Geneva.
- Read more about Jean-Jacques Rousseau at Wikipedia
Lord Anthony Ashley-CooperEdit
Locke's father, Anthony Cooper, shares a name with a famous English politician who, ironically, was the political mentor and patron of the philosopher John Locke.
Anthony Ashley-Cooper was born on July 22, 1621 in Dorset county of England. Cooper suffered the death of both his parents, and was raised by relatives and family friends. Educated by Puritan tutors, Cooper attended Exeter college in Oxford. Cooper was elected to the Short and Long Parliament for Tewkesbury, where his family owned land, and for Dorset respectively. When the Civil War in England began, Cooper sided with his king, but changed sides quickly after, stating that the king's policies as being "destructive to religion and State". Anthony Cooper died on January 21, 1683 in the Netherlands.
Relationship with John LockeEdit
In 1666, Cooper traveled to Oxford to treat a liver infection. While there, Cooper met John Locke, and became impressed with the man so much that he invited Locke to join his retinue, which is the group of people who follow a person of high authority. Locke had been looking for a career, and moved into Cooper's home in London to act as the household physician. During this time, Cooper's liver infection became life threatening. Locke coordinated the advice of several physicians was persuaded Cooper to agree to undergo an operation, life threatening in its own right at the time, to remove the cyst. Cooper survived, and credited Locke with saving his life.
- Read more about Lord Anthony Ashley-Cooper at Wikipedia
Boone Carlyle shares a surname with Thomas Carlyle, an influential nineteenth century Scottish historian whose work appealed to many who were struggling to adjust to the political and scientific changes of the time.
Thomas Carlyle was born on December 4, 1795. Coming from a strictly Calvinist family, Carlyle was expected by his parents to become a preacher. However, while studying at Edinburgh he lost his Christian faith. However, for the rest of his life, Carlyle would carry a religious temperament without traditional Christian faith, which made his work appealing to the many people at the time who were suffering from the same type of conflict as he was. Thomas Carlyle died on February 5, 1881 in London.
A main idea presented by Carlyle was the idea of "the hero". To Carlyle, chaotic or dangerous circumstances demanded heroes to take control over the competing forces at work. These competing forces, or Isms as Carlyle called them, were the hopes and aspirations of people that took the form of ideas, and often came into conflict with each other. Carlyle theorized that only dynamic individuals could master events and control these Isms effectively.
Such ideas were the root of Socialism, but also helped form Fascism in later years. To Carlyle, a hero was a person who flourished in the fullest sense in a world filled with contradictions with which the hero must deal with. All heroes are flawed, and their heroism lies in the creativity while facing a situation, rather than their moral perfection. By necessity, to truly take control of a situation, a heroic leader will be inevitably flawed.
- Read more about Thomas Carlyle at Wikipedia
Desmond Hume shares a similar name with eighteenth century Scottish philosopher David Hume. David Hume was a crucial figure in Western civilization and is famous for developing what is known as "Human philosophy", which many believe is a form of skepticism and naturalism.
David Hume was born on April 26, 1711 in Edinburgh, Scotland. At the age of twelve, Hume was sent to Edinburgh University, and originally intended to undertake a career in law. However, Hume found himself drawn to the areas of philosophy. Hume achieved great literary fame as an essayist and historian, and presented many articles or historical accounts that reached the public eye. However, due to his views, Hume was charged with heresy against the Church. His defense that his atheism put him outside the power of the Church eventually won his freedom. Weeks before his death, Hume maintained his belief that life after death is a "most unreasonable fancy". David Hume died in the year of 1776, and is buried on the eastern slope of Calton Hill in new Edinburgh.
Free Will Versus DeterminismEdit
Hume hypothesized that free will cannot exist with indeterminism. If actions were not determined by the events prior in one's life, then those actions, as it would seem, would be completely random. According to Hume, actions are determined by one's character - the desires, preferences, values, etc inside a person. Moreover, a person who acts outside of his or her character cannot be held accountable for his or her seemingly random actions. Free will requires determinism, as a person and an action would not be connected with free thought and action otherwise.
- Read more about David Hume at Wikipedia
Edmund Burke shares a name with philosopher Edmund Burke who was born on January 12, 1729 and was an Anglo-Irish statesman, author, orator, political theorist, and philosopher, who served for many years in the British House of Commons as a member of the Whig party. He is chiefly remembered for his support of the American colonies in the dispute with King George III and Great Britain that led to the American Revolution and for his strong opposition to the French Revolution. The latter made Burke one of the leading figures within the conservative faction of the Whig party (which he dubbed the "Old Whigs"), in opposition to the pro-revolutionary "New Whigs", led by Charles James Fox. Burke also published philosophical work on aesthetics and founded the Annual Register, a political review. He is often regarded as the father of Anglo-American conservatism.
- Read more about Edmund Burke at Wikipedia
Richard Alpert shares a name with the prominent college professor Dr. Richard Alpert. Doctor Alpert, whom in 1967 changed his name to Ram Dass, is a contemporary spiritual teacher who wrote the 1971 bestseller Be Here Now. He is well-known for his association with Timothy Leary at Harvard University in the early 1960s, both having been dismissed from their professorships for experiments on the effects of psychedelic drugs on human subjects. He is also known for his travels to India and his association with the Hindu guru Neem Karoli Baba. When asked if he could sum up his life's message Ram Dass replied, "I help people as a way to work on myself, and I work on myself to help people... To me, that's what the emerging game is all about."
- Read more about Richard Alpert at Wikipedia
Mikhail Bakunin is a reference to the philosopher of the same name. In Moscow, philosopher Bakunin became friends with a group of former university students, and engaged in the systematic study of Idealist philosophy, grouped around the poet Nikolay Stankevich, “the bold pioneer who opened to Russian thought the vast and fertile continent of German metaphysics” (E. H. Carr). The philosophy of Kant initially was central to their study, but then progressed to Schelling, Fichte, and Hegel. By autumn of 1835, Bakunin had conceived of forming a philosophical circle in his home town of Pryamukhino; a passionate environment for the young people involved. For example, Vissarion Belinsky fell in love with one of Bakunin’s sisters. Moreover, by early 1836, Bakunin was back in Moscow, where he published translations of Fichte’s Some Lectures Concerning the Scholar's Vocation and The Way to a Blessed Life, which became his favorite book. With Stankevich he also read Goethe, Schiller, Jean Paul, and E.T.A. Hoffmann.
- Read more about Mikhail Bakunin at Wikipedia