“LOST”: John Locke Character = John Locke Philosopher?
Posted by nottakingsides on February 17, 2007
Am I the last to know this?
I’m a big fan of the “LOST” series and this is a very interesting discovery for us fans. I happened to watch a PBS movie American Experience: John & Abigail Adams “Meet the original power couple” (awesome movie BTW) and looked up some info on John Adams, then Thomas Jefferson, then noticed “the philosopher John Locke”, which then led me to think there may be a connection. No wonder LOST’s John Locke is so complex and philosophical. Now that I read more about the real-life philosopher, I find many interesting parallels. Yep, MY discovery (not really, of course)…………I amaze myself sometimes.I would highly recommend watching the PBS movie and while you are at it dig deeper into the interesting lives of John & Abigail Adams, origins of the Declaration of Independence, and the history that surrounds all of this.Below are a few excerpts to solidify the connection.PBS:
“The content of the Declaration of Independence was not entirely original. In addition to borrowing from his own writing, Jefferson relied on other declarations and pamphlets of the time, includingVirginia‘s Declaration of Rights, written by George Mason, and a 1774 pamphlet by Pennsylvanian James Wilson. All of these men drew liberally from the writings of philosopher John Locke. The Declaration’s second paragraph, however, crystallized perfectly not only what had been accomplished over months of indecision and war, but what yet remained to be done:We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”Wikipedia :“John Locke, after whom the character John Locke is named, was a famous social contract philosopher who dealt with the relationship between nature and civilization. He mostly subscribed to the theory of tabula rasa, (the title of the third episode of the first season, featuring Kate). Also, the TV Locke’s father is named Anthony Cooper, named for Lord Anthony Ashley-Cooper, the real-world John Locke’s political mentor and patron. The real Locke believed that, in the state of nature, all men had equal rights to punish transgressors; to ensure fair judgment for all, governments were formed to better administer the laws. This philosophy is paralleled by the character of Locke, who embraces both nature and the need for organization among the survivors. Further, the flashback in which Locke donates his kidney to his father mirrors the historical relationship between the philosopher John Locke and Lord Anthony Ashley Cooper, whose life was saved by Locke when the latter persuaded Ashley-Cooper to undergo an operation to remove a cyst on his liver.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: “Much of Locke’s work is characterized by opposition to authoritarianism. This opposition is both on the level of the individual person and on the level of institutions such as government and church. For the individual, Locke wants each of us to use reason to search after truth rather than simply accept the opinion of authorities or be subject to superstition. He wants us to proportion assent to propositions to the evidence for them. On the level of institutions it becomes important to distinguish the legitimate from the illegitimate functions of institutions and to make the corresponding distinction for the uses of force by these institutions. The positive side of Locke’s anti-authoritarianism is that he believes that using reason to try to grasp the truth, and determining the legitimate functions of institutions will optimize human flourishing for the individual and society both in respect to its material and spiritual welfare. This in turn, amounts to following natural law and the fulfillment of the divine purpose for humanity. Locke’s monumental An Essay Concerning Human Understanding concerns itself with determining the limits of human understanding in respect to God, the self, natural kinds and artifacts, as well as a variety of different kinds of ideas. It thus tells us in some detail what one can legitimately claim to know and what one cannot.”