The season opener of Lost was exceptionally good, and I have a scale to prove it. As I watch TV I am often working through a newspaper or magazine or something. If the show is really good I will watch the show intently and fast forward through the commercials. If the show is good then I will watch the commercials and read through them. If the show is not good then I am often reading through the show. If it is not even worthy of being background noise, then the show is crap and will probably be the next breakout hit for the network. Last season Lost was occasionally good, but to-night’s episode was an improvement. I wish I had delayed watching it so I did not have to wait a week for the next episode, which is why it earns the exceptionally good rating.
Besides being an intriguing story, the show also taught us a valuable lesson about free will (a lesson that was foreshadowed in the opening book club sequence.) In the beginning of the episode Jack finds himself in a cage with a woman telling him to stop pulling on the chain that hangs from the ceiling. She asks him to sit in the far corner of the room so she can open the door and give him some food. Jack consents and sits there, only to then run at the door and attack her.
Every person knows when they are placed in a powerless situation such as this one. They know they have little choice. It is the truly free will, however, that sits there and behaves knowing that while they are following another’s orders they have the ability to resist. It is the resistant that acts to preserve the free will, but it is the obedient that knows the free will is not in jeopardy. Not attacking the woman would have been best. In the end, Jack ended up in the room again, in the exact same situation except he had only managed to upset his captors. A hard lesson to learn and one that we as Americans are not supposed to accept.
Now comes the inevitable political extrapolation. I could resist doing this, but then I know that I can resist it even if I do not. Bush needs to accept that the genie of nuclear proliferation is out of the bottle. The spread of weapons is inevitable and continuing to threaten war and control supply only makes nuclear weapons more prestigious and appealing. While some actions can be taken instead of making nuclear proliferation more likely through our counterproductive policies we should instead focus on not being anyone’s enemy and consequently not anyone’s target for the newly acquired weapons of mass destruction. We need to not confuse the desire for non-proliferation with a danger of proliferation, because the real danger is when we try to prevent the proliferation.