Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Third Policeman

"...a journey is a hallucination."
"Apparently there is no limit, Joe remarked. Anything can be said in this place and it will be true and will have to be believed."


This book was seen in the Season 2 premier “Man of Science Man of Faith”. It was being read by Desmond and is also seen on his bunk (this information is from Lostpedia). Lostpedia as well as other blogs and Lost media sources quote one of the shows writers, Craig Wright, as saying that the book was chosen for the show for a reason, and that there are key ideas that relate to the show. This is not really confirmed anywhere so I’m not sure how much stock I want to put in the ideas it presents us. That said, this book, while full of bicycles, has many concepts and ideas that tie in in such an interesting way. I literally had notes on every other page. So to avoid another big, long post a la AiWL I give you The Third Policeman in four bullets and a list…
  • Comparisons To Lost:
    1. The road to Eternity compares to the way Lock and Boone had to run through the jungle to find the plane. Also when Eko and Lock find the big ? on the ground by following their dream.
    2. The map…well it parallels the blast door map. I think that is pretty much cut and dry.
    3. Omnium parallels Ben’s magic box if it is indeed a real thing and not just a metaphor.
    4. The policemen who stay in Eternity don’t age when they are there, which reminds me of the constantly young Mr. Alpert.
    5. De Selby attributes night to “black air” coming from volcanic activity. Our island has a volcano, and also our island has volcanic rock that may or may not be creating some kind of effect on the island.
    6. Grey powder shows up in Eternity when the narrator asks for a weapon and is given a device that will turn an enemy into a gray powder (or other colors if calculated to do so). On the show we see a gray powder surrounding Jacob’s cabin. Maybe volcanic ash, maybe something else, but curious (not to mention outlandish) to ponder that it could be powdered enemies.
    7. The policemen are constantly taking recording in their notebooks, checking instruments, and looking at numbers. Lost has numbers, yes it does, and they add up to 108, and they show up in curious places, and they need to be entered into computers so that things will not “happen”. So yeah numbers parallel the book and the show.
    8. De Selby claims that there are only two directions on a sphere north-south and east-west...or maybe only one direction because, "...if one leaves any point on the globe, moving and continuing to move in any "direction", one ultimately reaches the point of departure again." (p 94). Could this be describing Michael and Walt on the boat pointing it in one direction and eventually getting home? Maybe they are just going to go in one big circle and end up at the island again.
    9. De Selby also thinks that Earth is sausage shaped, and "If a way can be found, says de Selby, of discovering the "second direction", i.e., along the "barrel" of the sausage, a world of entirely new sensations and experiences will be open to humanity." Okay we know the earth is not sausage shaped really, but it is not perfectly a circle either, so, is this what DHARMA has discovered... a new direction and a new world? Is this where the numbers lead to? Is this the island?
  • Travel From Point A to Point B (pgs. 50-52)
    • De Selby says that, “…a journey is a hallucination.” He believes that wanting to move or get from one place to another one must begin, then rest at various points between when you begin and end, and finally rest when you are where you want to move to. Each separate rest, grouped by the “many millions” make up the illusion of motion. It even goes on to recount a time when de Selby wanted to get from Bath to Folkstone by locking himself in a room with pictures of where he wanted to go, and instruments to simulate change in time, etc…he believed that he had indeed traveled.
    • How does this relate to Lost? Well, there are two characters in particular that come to mind when I think about traveling without really going anywhere and they are Jacob and Walt. Both have appeared in season three (Walt in season two as well) in sort of semi-transparent states. So perhaps these characters are not really on the island but rather locked in a room somewhere with pictures of the island, and sort of willing themselves to be there. The result is them showing up in a not quite formed manor, as I would imagine flinging yourself into motion by constantly hallucinating and then grouping your "millions of rests" between two points may do. The question then is, will we see anyone else who is able to do this on a more formed level? Are there characters that are able to manifest themselves off the island and have interactions with other people that we don’t know are doing this? Maybe Desmonds monk, the ring lady, Nadia, etc… are all people who are sort of jumping about by literally thinking about it hard enough.
  • Eternity:
    • To get there you take a hidden road that is overgrown. Once inside, you travel underground and end up in a series of tunnels and passages that basically all connect into one big circle. Off of these are doors that open into different things, but mainly through the use of omnium, can give you anything you want. Anything at all…poof just like that. The catch is that while you’re there you can play with the stuff you get, but you can’t take it with you. So yes, this sounds exactly like Ben’s magic box, that he proclaims can give you anything you want.
    • Also, while in Eternity you don’t change. You don’t age, grow hair, etc. Even the cigarettes that are smoked don’t burn down. On the island Hurley never gets any thinner (and yes I am actually LOLing at myself for writing that), people become whole again and then don’t seem to change (Rose and Locke), Richard Alpert seems to not age, and no new babies are carried to term (from people at least). So, it could be said that the Losties are in some sort of “Eternity” of their own and just don’t know it. There are loads of holes in this idea beginning with the birth of Aaron, if things didn’t change he would just stay in Claire forever I guess. Also with Sun’s pregnancy, and maybe even Kate’s if she is indeed pregnant.
  • The Punchline:
    • There is this third policeman who we don’t see until the end of the book, but through the whole thing has been in the walls of Mathers’ house (the murdered man) in his own little police barracks, and he has been messing with the readings, numbers, and data of the other two policemen. Thusly he has saved our narrator from a hanging. BUT then our narrator goes to seek out his box of omnium, which is at his co-killer’s home only to find that he is dead, and has been through his whole odd adventure. He then walks back out to the road and starts the whole thing all over again.
    • I’m not going to lie, I am becoming more and more alarmed at the number of book club books that are ending as dreams or as after-death adventures. So I am going to pretend that the Losties are not dead, or in purgatory (ugh I can’t believe I wrote that), or in a mass hallucination/coma, or in a snow globe, and just say…at the end of the book, Flann O’Brien’s letter to his friend appears. In it he states, “…all the queer ghastly things which have been happening to him are happening in a sort of hell which he earned for the killing.” That idea is interesting. I totally forgot as I read the book, that this narrator has brutally killed a man. I actually sort of like the guy, as I do most of the characters on Lost. But let’s review; there are loads of people on the show who have indeed killed someone before getting to the island, we all know this, and there are loads of lists posted so no need to make this one any longer. But I do like the idea that Hell is this cyclic thing and that it keeps going round and round and actions earn you a journey there.
  • Final Bullets:
    • Here is where my brain is going into overdrive. Okay so we have the idea that there is this place where you don’t change while there. Couple that with the idea that Hell is cyclic and weird and full of two dimensional police barracks where everyone is obsessed with bicycles, taking measurements, and omnium. Add in the idea that you can have whatever you want but you can’t take it with you, and the fact that the main character is stuck in a loop that he has earned himself by being a bad murdering dude.
    • Desmond is holding/reading the book on the show, and he is the one that we know is doing some sort of looping. Maybe it's a clue that with this book we are on the right track. (Thanks for the reminder on this Jess.)
    • What if our Losties are stuck in some sort of cyclic place, where they have unwittingly earned themselves a spot? What if while they are there nothing changes, and time outside of where they are is moving slow or not at all (ie: pgs 142-143 where the narrator emerges from Eternity after 2-3 hours and it seems only minutes has passed. Or when he makes it to his partner's house and it is 16 years later while it has only been 3 days for him)? They have been there for months, but maybe things off the island are moving like a day for every month they have been there.
    • Now add to that the looping idea where things are running in a circle and not all in a consecutive manor. Is there a way that our Flight 815 crashed, and everyone ended up in an “Eternity” but somehow in the whole big loop of things they are also back at home, at some point in the past or future. There is another crash of Flight 815, one in which the bodies are located with undersea cameras and played for the news shows. All the while the other “survivors” are just out of synch with the world. When they get out of Eternity will they actually have to loop around to another point in time and crash again? Is that what Jack is looking for? Is that why they need to stay on the island, to avoid their deaths? I know somewhere, somehow this makes a little bit of sense.

Next Month: Turn of the Screw and Of Mice and Men

9 comments:

jess4ua said...

This is excellent! I really believe that the "cyclical" idea is what we are supposed to get out of this book. It could just be my deep desire for the losties not to be dead skewing my judgment though. As I said before, you did a great job of putting it into words. I think it is possible that this may be one of the answers on LOST.

maven said...

Just a quickie comment, Ange. Awesome job as usual. Really helps me understand how everything can be related to Lost. I like the "cyclical" idea, too, Jess. Ties in with all the bi"cycle" stuff! LOL The explanation that they might be in an eternity-like place rather than purgatory (gulp) would make me feel better. Also, the fact that Desmond is holding the book and he's the one that we have seen is most involved with the playing with time, leads me to agree that that is a major clue as to what might be going on. We still a lot more info though, don't we?

Ange said...

Agreed Maven and Jess. We do need so much more information, BUT that said, even though it seems to come in teensy dribbles I do think that we are being given clues as to what the answer is. We just need to put them together and/or realize they are actually clues.

As for cyclic, I am so curious to see if this bunny #15 will actually be a looping time-jumping bunny, and if it'll play into the season and not just be a cool comic-con thing.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read.

Sayid'sgirl said...

Very insightful as always.
I particularly like the idea that Walt and Michael are continuing from one point and ultimately returning to their departure point "home".

Amused2bHere said...

I had the most trouble with this book. Thanks for writing your thoughts down, they really helped me sort through things.

Cycles of Hell, eh? Not Purgatory, where there is supposed to be hope of eventual entrance to Heaven, but Hell where there is no hope, only an eternity of despair and pain. Ironic that it is located in Hawai'i, isn't it?

capcom said...

This is very interesting Ange! And I didn't even read thebook. Your thoughts and comparisons are well done.

There are some similarities to Lost Horizon as well.

I really like your thoughts about the pregnancies on the island!

I also very much like your idea about the crash, time looping, and Jack's continuous trying to crash again, to come back around. Neat! :-)

Ange said...

sayid's_girl: I have always wondered what was going to become of Walt and Michael. It just seemed to me that it was WAY too easy for them to get off the island. So the going in circles in the one true direction really could be a possibility there.

amused: You know it's funny that there is for sure a difference between Purgatory and a cyclical Hell. I just re-watched the Hellraiser movies, and found it interesting that the concept there was that some people actually wanted to get into Hell. I wonder if the inhabitants of the island have somehow willed themselves into a Hell or are now choosing to stay.

capcom: Anyone who uses the word neat is a-OK in my book. This was a tough book, but one of those that is better when you ponder it after the fact than when actually reading it. You might want to give it a whirl if you didn't get too spoiled.

As always THANKS for reading!

2costa said...

what about neat-o ange

memphish said...

Don't forget about Desmond's boat being unable to leave the Island's orbit. He traveled for 2 weeks toward Fiji and ended back up at the Island. I guess the only surprise about Michael and Walt is why it has been a month without them showing back up yet. Also there's Ben's pesky "rescue" claim.

The idea of people sitting in rooms with pictures reminds me of Hurley's doctor in Santa Rosa. He had a picture of an Island on his wall. Maybe he's Jacob. :-)