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League of Inveterate Poets

The out-of-context contextuality of a foolish sage

LOST Producer Cuse: “No Unified Theory”





By on May 25, 2010

From a fascinating discussion between LOST producers Cuse and Lindelof and theoretical physicist Sean Carroll, author of From Eternity to Here:

Carlton Cuse: I think there’s this essential human desire to have a unified field theory. But there is no unified field theory for Lost, nor do we think there should be. Philosophically we don’t buy into that. The great mysteries of life fundamentally can’t be addressed. We just have to tell a good story and let the chips fall where they may. We don’t know whether the resolution between the two timelines is going to make people say, “Oh, that’s cool” or “Oh, fuck those guys, they belly-flopped at the end.” But the fact that we’re nervous about it and that we’re actually attempting it — that is what we had to do. We had to try to make the dive.

This is similar to the point I was trying to make in my pre-finale essay “Why LOST Doesn’t Need to Answer Every Question.” To provide a basis for every mystery is not only bad writing, it’s not true to life. The mysteries should have a plausibility within the universe of the story, but they do not need to all “tie together.” There is no unified theory of everything. Indeed, an increasing number of scientists are beginning to think that the search for a grand unified theory is futile.

So what are we LOST fans left with then? A gift that is the same as one of the greatest gifts we have as humans: the capacity to wonder and philosophize and speculate. Some of us need to get over our anger that LOST abandoned any attempt at a “theory of everything” (if that was ever the goal) and embrace the gift, a gift that will live in our discussions for years to come.

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