LOST Thoughts: The Circle of Others

Listening to an archive episode of (IMO) the superb Lost podcast ” Lost Revisited” ( hosted by Heath Centazzo), I was reminded of a little thought I had about “Others” a while back . Heath mentioned in an episode of a rewatch of ” White Rabbit” (Season One), Jin and Sun are the first people to utter the word “others” in a conversation on the show. Normally with any other show, I wouldn’t have thought anything unusual about this bit of dialog. But as we know, LOST is no ordinary show with ordinary dialog. So much of it is another piece of the puzzle: A look, a prop, a name, a word.

We all have circles, psychological/physical “boundaries” . It appears that we keep people in our lives, temporarily and regularly, at different “levels” of distance. That the level of initimacy, familiarity and trust coincide with the physical measurement of distance between two individuals.

Anthropologist Edward T. Hall broke it down into four measurements, illustrated by the use of concentric circles :

Public space: 25 feet
Social space: 12 feet
Personal space: 4 feet
Intimate space: 1.5 feet

In other words, the closer you are…the closer you are 🙂 . It is called proxemics. Here’s a more extensive definition from Wikipedia

This appears like what is happening with the term “Others”. Only something that is a little different is that those who are referred to as an “Other” is slowly narrowing in scope and widening in intimacy. (Not sure if that makes any sense. Still gonna keep writing anyway 😉 )

First, between Jin and Sun, “Others” were separated because of their marital bond, language barrier and unknown hostile environment. The next “circle” embodies those who aren’t part of the small group that heard Danielle’s transmission. ” Should we tell the others? No they’ll lose hope. Just us” circle. Then after Scott’s murder on the beach, Locke gives his ” We’re not alone on this island and we all know it ” speech. The circle widens to the beach people. They are ok…not those “Others” Locke speaks of.

Then the hatch comes into play. New circles are formed. Only Boone and Locke. ” Can’t let the others know” ….but then Shannon is told by Boone …and Sayid because ” We want him on our side” says Locke. Eventually Jack is brought out to it…then Kate and Hurley….but no one else, ok? 😉 Not soon after, Arzt calls the “merry band of travelers” out on it. He whines that he’s not in the “gang”, the circle that does not consist of any “others” (non dangerous kind).

First, there are the benign beach “others”, silently carrying their logs and taking orders from the fabulous 14. In turn, these “others” are mercifully given by their more “vocal” counterparts, a protective spot in the hatch .

On another part of the Island, Jin, Sawyer and Michaellost-michael-t1 are apprehended by who they think are Others, after their raft was blown up by actual ” Others”. Funny thing.. their captors were thinking the same thing about them. Turns out that those disheveled detainers were fellow passengers of Oceanic 815 : Tail Section. Despite a few cracks to the jaw, snarky remarks and an accidental Shannon shooting… The Tailies soon went from ” Others” to allies.

Then there are the ruthless “Others” the Losties are hiding from in that hatch. They were first revealed in the form of creepy Ethan and were dangerous enough to even bring reclusive Danielle (and her rifle) out of the woodwork.

And they remain just that …. kidnapping, taser carrying, fish bisquit making “Others”… until the freighter comes. Then Jack is kissing Juliet and Ben is carrying sheets back to his bungalow. Apparently, not as “Othery” as they used to be.

But those Freighter Folks….they’re a bit on the “Others” side. So much so that Miles is eating a grenade for breakfast. However, after Keamy’s Meanies come stompin’ through the jungle…. Miles is eating peanuts at the table of the Fusies. The circle widens, new ring forms for the ” New and Improved Others” (Made by Widmore Labs).

It makes me wonder, at this rate of inclusion…will there be anyone left who will be an “Other”? Maybe Lost will conclude similarly to that line from Walt Kelly’s classic comic strip Pogo ” We have met the enemy…and he is us.” ?

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2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    izikavazo said,

    Very good write-up MsWendy. It’s good to step back sometimes and see the big picture. It’s very odd how The Others seem like such good friends at this point now that an outside threat materialized.
    – Izi

  2. 2

    mswendy said,

    Thanks, Izi! 🙂

    It is strange how chummy they have gotten. Watching Kate protect Ben when The Keam Team showed up. The tone between Sawyer and Juliet , very different from Season 3. And in “reality” of Lost time, it has been only approx. 3-4 months total since the crash. Wounds of all kinds seem to heal rapidly on this Island ( unless you’ve been shot with both kidneys intact or crushed by a falling airplane/Smokey).

    And every season, new faces are added. New threats….new friends?


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