What are your priorities?

LOST can be seen as a microcosm of the world; very different people from all walks of life seeking to recreate a miniature “society”. I think the writers are making a statement about what human priorities are, in how the story unfolds. This is especially true now that it seems more and more likely they will be digging in for the long haul, since the raft failed and the S.O.S. was scrapped. The following are in the order they appear on the show:

1) Life & Death Safety / Shelter
“Pilot” S1E1&2: Jack and others scramble to people after the crash. They start building shelters out of the tarps. Fear over the monster paralyzes them all the first night. They stay close to one another for comfort.

2) Division of Labor
“Tabula Rasa” S1E3: Sayid: “If it rains, we should set up tarps to collect water. I need to organize 3 separate groups. Each group should have a leader. One group for water – I’ll organize that. Who’s going to organize electronics? You? Rationing food? Okay. And I believe a third group should concern themselves with the construction of…”

3) Leadership and a Sustainable Source of Fresh Water and Food
“Walkabout” S1E4: Locke decides to go boar hunting, so they have meat when the trays from the leftover plane food runs out.
“White Rabbit” S1E5: There is great concern that people have just been taking what they want, and panic ensues as people realize they are running out of fresh water (and Sawyer is suspected of hoarding). Jack emerges as the clear choice for leader in the beginning, though he is initially reluctant. He finds the caves and a source of freshwater there, after being led by an image of his father. People are relieved to see him return, and he makes his famous “Live together, die alone” speech to rally the troops.

4) Medical Care
“House of the Rising Sun” S1E6: Jack starts to collect medications from the wreckage, which he will later build a medical tent for. Sun will later add to his facilities, since she is secretly planting a garden full of medicinal herbs.

5) Entertainment
“Solitary” S1E9: Hurley builds a golf course to relieve some of the stress they are all feeling.

6) Fair Distribution of Limited Resources
“Everybody Hates Hugo” S2E4: Hurley is reluctantly given the task of distributing the newly found DHARMA food. He hates the job because he notices that individual greed and human gluttony are making people want what they don’t need, and he is the target of this, as the one who makes the decisions. In the end, Jack agrees to let off the pressure, and allows Hurley to distribute things to people to divvy up and ration themselves, though he and Rose still take care of inventory.

7) Law & Order; Meting Out Justice to Those Who Break The Rules
Has been an issue since early on, with many fights breaking out due to misunderstandings and false accusations (such as when Sawyer was accused of stealing medication and was tortured, Jin was accused of setting the raft on fire and handcuffed, and when the raft group was imprisoned in the pit by the tail section group). In “One of Them” (S2E14), this issue is tackled head-on with Fake “Henry”, an outsider they feel is a clear potential danger. They decide to imprison him in the armory, where there is the security of a combination lock.

8) Religious & Spiritual Needs
“S.O.S.” S2E19: It becomes apparent that what Mr. Eko and Charlie have been building is a church.

An interesting mirror of society. What other needs do you think human beings have? What do you think they will tackle next? What would you build if you were on the island?

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10 Responses to What are your priorities?

  1. Lesley says:

    How about companionship and/or the need to feel like others love or approve? Apart from the married folks and the mom/baby we have seen Kate/Jack, Kate/Saywer, Boone/Locke, Walt/Locke, Shannon/Sayid, Charlie/Claire, Claire/Locke, Charlie/Eko, Sun/Jack, Ana-Lucia/Eko, Ana-Lucia/Jack, Vincent/Sawyer…… I believe there is an particular order to priorities when people are faced with a survival type situation and the first two are safety and ability to sustain life via food and water. I do not remember the order of the rest.

    There is also the need to feel part of the group. Both Hurley and Kate have expressed their concerns to Jack about being “in the loop” or “part of the club”. That sometimes leads to a bigger need for some folks to feel like they are in charge.

    Then we see who has the power, who wants the power. Jack, Sawyer, Locke, Sayid and Ana-Lucia all seem to jockey for position with different tacks for getting the power they desire –they do not all want the same kind of power either. Oh and I forgot faux Henry, he REALLY needs to have power! In fact, the big power picture is the Lost Group/Others/The Island.

    Personal space starts to become more of an issue when people get more comfortable and begin to feel like there is an order to their upside-down world. Charlie plays the guitar, Rose and Locke have been seen meditating, Sawyer reads, Sun has a garden, Jin fishes, Locke explores…..

  2. Ravihansa says:

    Why leslie.. I think you forgot Micahel and Walt relationship. I think it’s a Key example of Father/Son Relationship. Or more like a portrait of Human Bonds.
    Though they have been seperated from each other for years how they bonds with each other due to the crash..

    Guess everything comes in circles and ends up with the Plane crash.

    I sincerly hope they just gove us some damn clues before the end of this season.

    Or otherwise I’m Gonna be Pissed with Damon.


  3. Job says:

    Great post C.! I’ve always seen LOST as a microcosm of humanity; during the first season the fragile mini-society was formed along the lines of “primitive communism” – classless, egalitarian, and cooperative.

    Sun’s garden, I thought, would represent an evolution from hunter-gatherers to a more advanced agrarian society. Alas, the Swan station (and recent food drop) has turned the LOSTies into welfare recipients. Their fragile society could become weaker still, and risks dissolving into individual (or paired) scavengers, concerned only with day to day survival.

    One final point: You are correct in surmising that fear is what galvanizes the survivors, and what keeps them together. As long as they are afraid (of Smokey, of the whispers, of the “Others”–all unknowns, interestingly), they have a common cause. Unfortunately, fear is the enemy within. Military might(the guns that Sawyer now controls) will never defeat it.

  4. Cecilia says:

    Ravihansa, I think I understand why Leslie left out Michael/Walt, because they were “preexisting” and family… though in some ways, not really, because they had been estranged and almost like strangers when they ended up on the island.

    Leslie, I agree with what you are saying. I was thinking of putting human companionship as one of the needs too, but it was tough to place that on a timeline, becauses it could be argued that it was such a major element since the beginning, almost every episode is concerned with how they are built and established. But you’re right that human emotional needs are just as important, if not more so, than physical needs. Liked your thoughts on personal space, too.

    Job, those are insightful thoughts, too. I was wondering what sort of government they could be considered, since they never formally elected anyone, but it seemed like all of them wanted Jack in the beginning without disagreement, and now it’s just tacitly understood that he calls most of the shots; it’s somewhat socialist, I guess. I see this being a source of conflict later as the ideological gap with Locke gets bigger. And how will the dynamic change, if they need to get more militant or have to go to war?

  5. frenchy_florims says:

    Hey cecilia, this an interesting post. With all due respect to everybody and politeness, it seems to me that you forgot all “dirty priorities” : I know this is a show but if you ask me a question about my priorities, I would speak about my body !
    I mean I would really really need to have bathroom, and I wonder how they handle this problem of privacy and all the stuff about cleaness. Of course they have a shower in the hatch, but one for fourty people, it’s not enough to keep washing.

    On another hand, I was thinking about (sorry you can censor me if I am wrong) … sex. We know that Jin and Sun enjoy their wedding because they are waiting for a baby, but what about Kate for instance ? Do you really think it’s realistic that there are no more new couples on the island, or even that some characters didn’t have some one-night stands ?
    I guess that in real life, such manly testosteronic huys like Sawyer or Jack and suck “naughty girl” like Kate (maybe Ana is “wiser”) would propably already have had more than just a kiss …
    I hope I am not shocking, it’s just a true question I am wondering after reading your post !

  6. victoria forman says:

    CAN SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME……What was the name and artist of the song playing in the bunker when they first go down there and find the guy.

  7. Andreas says:

    [quote comment=”1425″]CAN SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME……What was the name and artist of the song playing in the bunker when they first go down there and find the guy.[/quote]

    That would be Mama Cass – “Make Your Own Kind of Music”

  8. Orten says:

    Lost is all spinning around childrens bad relationship to parents. It’s about breaking up and reuniting. It’s about healing the sick. Jack the healing Jesus. It’s the naive doodlings of a child. A childs play with riddles. A mixture of philosophies and religion in a big bowl. A secret connection between souls. Lost fathers, lost children, lost mothers.

    Who can walk on water? Who can wake the dead? Who is a sinner? Who is the snake in paradise lost? Who is god? Who is Judas? Who is Mouhammed? Who is Buddha? Who are you?

    But the most clear point in Lost is the lost love between parents and their children.

  9. frenchy_florims says:

    “But the most clear point in Lost is the lost love between parents and their children. ”

    I certainly agree with you, Lost fulfills a sort of dream of everyone to get back to childhood : a place where you have all together hopes, hapiness, interrogations, fears and no real answers. You just have to trust rather than to think in order to rely.

    This is clearly a metaphora of our inner-depth : we are all lost in the world and we have to create a society to survive, otherwise we would all refuse to grow up, fight and survive for ourselves.

    This island is like a mother when we are children : good but mysterious and worrying. The community is like the father : it helps people to find a culture, laws and limits. All losties are like children, taken between the scarying comfort of the island (//mother) and the necessity to respect rules to live in the community (//father).
    We love the island, and we respect or admire the community : this is a necessary balance for all human living. nature/culture, mother/father, passion/reason, happiness/fear. In all those feelings you can both see eros(love)/thanatos(death) : our eternal fight whick keeps us alive as long as any of these two prevails.

  10. Cecilia says:

    frenchy florims — Just wanted to reply to your first reply, so that you didn’t think I was ignoring it (I was out last week). 🙂 I agree with you on the “carnal needs” are also very much on the human heiarchy of needs… I don’t really consider it “dirty” either, hehe… it’s just human nature, and a big driving force for behavior. I and many others would think, in a real life situation, with all these beautiful people running around, surely, some of them would have hooked up by now?? There are always hints dropped throughout the show of sexual tension — especially the love triangle between Jack, Kate & Sawyer. I think just for the PG-13 purposes of primetime viewing, some of this is toned down considerably. 😉

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