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At the end of this week's episode, they showed a clip from upcoming episodes and they had the following text:

"His soul had gone mad, Being alone in the wilderness. The horror, the horror."

This is a quote from Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, a book the writers have alluded to on multiple occasions. In the book, Conrad examines the duality of man and the constant question of whether we are good or evil. One of the main characters, a European imperialist named Kurtz, has traveled to the Congo and has been all consumed by the greed and power that the ivory farming has brought him. [Can you say boar tusks, anyone?]

He is supposed to represent the goodness of the educated and superior Europeans, trying to enlighten the savage Africans during his safari adventure. He builds himself up to be a sort of demi-god to the natives who fear him and are also in awe of him. He purports to be the good guy, bringing goodness to the people, yet his dying words, as he reflects on his life, are "the horror, the horror."

The narrative of the story is told through the eyes of Marlowe, who throughout his own journey to this tropical paradise needs to reflect on his own life, his own soul, his own demons.


Whether or not Lost is in explicit and elaborate retelling of this story, or just heavily influenced by the themes and imagery, I can't say for sure, but where does John Locke end up when he turns the wheel? Northern Africa - Tunisia.

On a totally different level, you have to wonder if the writers are making a political statement about American Imperialism and the "light" we're trying to bring to the Middle East. In the book, the reality is that the Europeans were the savages, not the Africans, and the notion that they could some export their beautiful western ideals into this dark and savage land was completely turned upside down by Conrad.

So, what does this all mean? I want to re-read the book and watch some more stuff, but I think it could mean that Jacob and MIB represent the duality of man, and each one of the Losties represents a particular set of problems for which there are no clear and perfect solutions. It would follow that those who have truly chosen evil in their lives (Sawyer, Kate, Jin, Sayid, and possibly Sun) will all meet some form of bad undoing, while Hurley, Rose, Bernard, Desmond, and Claire will all fare better.

I think Jack is the Marlowe character in all of this, completely taken aback by what he sees in the Congo (the island), but no more reassured by what he sees back at home.

Why the time travel and ALT timeline?

I think, at least metaphorically, it's a cool way to help answer the question "well, what if I could go back in time? What would I do differently with my life" and, "would doing something different necessarily make things any better or just present a new set of equally complex circumstances?"

I'm pretty sure "love" is going to do well, and that we'll see Jack visiting Helen at some point and when asked about John and how he died and what he said, Jack will lie to her and say something far nicer about 'ol Smokey than he deserved.

Anyone else familiar with the book that wants to help me riff on this idea?

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