October 15, 2010

My Year at LOST University.

Yay!  Another semester at LOST University!
This year, I along with fellow Losties wanted to work toward a L.U. Masters Degree.
The Masters courses encompassed exciting and fun areas of study, such as: 
  • Literature  601- The Building Blocks of Storytelling
  • The 601- Exploring Redemption and the Afterlife
  • Act 601- The Craft of Acting
  • Language 601- Exploring Spanish with Nestor Carbonell
  • Literature 602- Investigating Character Archetypes
  • The 602- What is Our Purpose? 
In addition to passing the Masters level courses, the requirement to accomplishing this goal is to write a thesis paper and submit it to the university.   Fellow Polar Bears are able to review and rate each paper to help determine the top five papers.   At this point I don't know where my paper will finish in the final ranking, if at all. 
Below you will find my thesis submission.  You will recognize that I wrote about a familiar topic that I've been passionate about.

CONGRATULATIONS to my fellow Polar Bears who also graduated from this prestigious institution!   It is an honor to walk the L.U. halls with you, to spend late nights studying together, and of up our messes after all those LOSTASTIC parties. 

CONGRATULATIONS to the creators and all involved with LOST University.   This on-line learning experience was totally fun.  You all did a great job with the web site, the university shirts/gear,  the course selections and the professors you employed.   I hope you have another round of classes up your sleeve.   I would love to work toward a Doctorate in LOST Studies!  After all, one should never stop learning.

I am very proud to share the news...Karen Mauro is a graduate of LOST University!   Now my quest is to find an extremely high paying job that I love with awesome benefits and the chance to travel the world.  Otherwise these important diplomas will just sit in a drawer collecting dust.

SUBMITTED 2010-09-20 13:25:22
The Magnum Opus of LOST is Defined Individually by
Viewer’s Perception.
By KMauro
LOST is watched by many in a literal manor, taking everything that is shown and applying it directly to logical, scientific and other academic principles, while the true identity of the story is cloaked in metaphor, allegory and symbolism. With all of that rolled up into one glorious crafted mosaic, it is impossible for this story to be perceived with a singular view.

The writers spun an imaginative and meaningful story using misdirection and deception. It’s as if they followed the basic code of being a magician. Their magic twisted our minds in confusion and amazement.

Since humans obtain information about the world around us through our sensory system, our perception is shaped by sensory input combined with life experience. But perception can be tricked. It is fact that perception can change as emotions change. Perception alters what people see into a "partial version" of reality, which ultimately corrupts the way people perceive the truth. When humans view something with a preconceived idea about it, they tend to take those preconceived ideas and see them whether or not they are there. This is because humans are unable to understand new information without the inherent bias of their previous knowledge. The extent of our own knowledge and life experience creates our reality as much as the truth because the human mind can only contemplate that which it has been exposed to.

The Buddhists believe in "Piercing the veil of illusion." This means that our minds are shaping sensory data and we have a choice as to how we shape it.

Many LOST viewers are preoccupied watching the part of the illusion the writers are “directing” us to look toward that the writers are able to conceal crucial information by throwing broad generalizations in order to keep the viewer from focusing in on the truth. They stayed one step ahead by purposely keeping the audience engaged with things like mythology, statues, hieroglyphs, time travel, space, physics and such.

When viewers take the time to question and probe the information illustrated via the constantly evolving puzzle, they find things are not what they seem; hence the completed picture may be very different from their original concepts.

Personally I would watch an episode and feel like I became privy to information via cryptic coding. Sure we could have gotten a simple code key to decipher the puzzle like Ralphie did in the movie A Christmas Story, and get a simple unrelated answer like “Drink more Ovaltine”, but the multi-layered story’s answers were meant to be challenging to work toward. We were always meant to take our own journey through this story and we were always supposed to take our own views from it and see things when we were ready to comprehend them, just as Jack did.

Perception played a role in viewers deciding what storytelling devices, such as metaphors and allegory, should be ignored or chalked up to “red herrings”. But the truth is those storytelling devices are actively telling this story side by side of all the puzzling problems, bizarre mythology and imagery we see on and with the "Island".

There is a difference between “red herrings” and storytelling devices, but the fun challenge is to discern which is which. For example, who is to say that what viewers perceived as “time travel” is really what we were supposed to get from that hint. It is possible that hint was cluing us into something else, or perhaps “it” was the “red herring”. The same could be said for other examples and how they were perceived such as a shape shifting smoke monster, a frozen donkey wheel that moves the "Island", ghosts, whispers, an ageless man, world saving electromagnetic forces, appearing and disappearing people, a machine that determines if someone if good or bad, a cork that plugs a hole in a bright light cavern, reset button, twins who've been playing an eternal game, and an invisibility cloak around the "Island".

For many the end proved nothing more than a Catch 22 or an outright lie and in fact it was a hydra of questions being raised and answered only to be replaced by new confusing and disorientating questions. Viewers interpreted the blissful series finale in many ways. Because we were shown the "spring" in the temple in the final season of LOST, the possibility exists that what we saw was a stage of higher consciousness to enlightenment, and that "rebirth" may very well refer to the metaphoric "death" or "ending to something" and the "new beginning" or "rebirth" and not a literal death and reincarnation.

LOST’s trip over the rainbow and down the rabbit hole has always been a story about perception; this is why we all extrapolated different things from it. It’s because the writers used such stimulating ideas, metaphors and symbolism that they were able to keep us in a state of exploration and learning. They were able to create a work of art that can be revisited over the years, thus giving the viewer a new experience with each new viewing as their knowledge and life experiences cause their perception to shift.

For me the LOST narrative is a wonderfully unique combination of outstanding storytelling, smoke and mirrors, and literary optical illusion, all wrapped in a deep educational and emotionally enriching growth experience.

Is a single viewing of this story the only way to validate what the story was ultimately about? I don’t think so. LOST is written therefore it will not change. I am looking forward to seeing how viewer’s perception of the story may change as their own life experiences and knowledge causes their perception to go through a metamorphosis. After all, things don’t change, it’s your way of looking at it that changes.

For all of us LOST was a journey of questions, searching for answers of all kinds and learning to discover what was in the magic box. What did you see when you opened it?

Thesis Questions:

1.   Are the things you perceive really what is being presented?

2.   Do you think the LOST writers are using slide of hand and hypnotic convincing words to con you into believing what you are seeing?

3.   Do you think your perception of the the LOST story will change upon another viewing?

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