Monday, April 03, 2006

108: Restoring the Lost Sun

Remember the Hatch mural?

One of its most prominent features is the Sun with 108 in the center. I've long believed the mural generally, and that Sun specifically, are a key clue to what Dharma has become. But it wasn't until the blast door map that their significance was finally illuminated.

In the lower right corner of the map, there is a seemingly random cite to the Book of Revelation, chapter 4, verse 3, line 2, which reads: "And there was a rainbow about the throne, in sight like an emerald." It apparently lacks any discernible connection to Lost, but appearances can deceive.

New Age Gnosticism and the "Lost Sun"
The "rainbow" in Revelation has been interpreted by some new age gnostics as referring to the Sun, with the verse that follows describing the Zodiacal cross of Lion, Calf, Man, and Eagle:

These new age Gnostics believe that humanity is not the final step on the evolutionary scale, but rather the starting point for a spiritual evolution that promises to transcend the material limits of creation. They aspire to create a divine life on earth through the forging of a unified, global supermind.

The process of creating this "supramental" consciousness that will guide our spiritual evolution is called restoring the "lost Sun." That description actually derives from the Rig Veda, a collection of Hindu hymns that are among the oldest texts preserved in any language.

These neo-Gnostics read the Rig Veda as being concerned primarily with the recovery or return of the "lost Sun," also termed the Sanatana Dharma or Eternal Truth of Being and Becoming. 108 is a scared number in Sanatana Dharma, symbolizing in various ways the underlying order and harmony of the universe.

Dream of a New World Order
All of which brings us back to the Hatch mural, which I believe depicts Dharma's dream of a new world order. The original scientists long ago achieved their transhumanist ambition of overcoming the limits of corporeal existence. They have become pure electromagnetic consciousness, merged with the EM field of the Island, which is literally an extension of their minds.

They now possess god-like powers, and so aspire to play god. Troubled by the violence and greed in the world, the scientists plan to impose a new collective global consciousness with Dharma at its core. They seek, in sum, to restore the "lost Sun" using an army of LeviEthans led by psychic messiahs like Aaron and Walt (the black and white figures in the mural).

To carry out their plans, the disembodied scientists commandeer people from the real world using the numbers and the Island itself. The numbers are an algorithmic representation of the supramental consciousness, permitting the scientists to connect with and influence the minds of targets.

Meanwhile, the Island's high concentration of non-metallic minerals like quartz make it a kind of giant antenna, broadcasting the scientists' electromagnetic influence worldwide. In this way, people like Hurley who "use" the numbers are manipulated and coerced into coming to the Island.

Indoctrination into Dharma
Once there, however, these draftees must be prepared mentally and spiritually before the full scope of the Dharma Initiative can be revealed. The first stage in this indoctrination is Swan Hatch, where the influence of the supramental consciousness is reinforced through repetition of the numbers and exposure to the powerful electromagnet behind the concrete.

Hatch occupants are introduced via the orientation film to what Dharma once was (but not what it has since become) and primed to respect Hanso and the DeGroots. Eventually, however, the occupants are sufficiently conditioned that they're ready to "graduate" from the Hatch and begin their indoctrination in earnest.

At that point, they're shown the blast door map, which was drawn by the first occupant drafted into Dharma. My guess is it was subsequently fleshed out and annotated by someone from the Hanso Foundation sent to investigate what happened to the Initiative -- as a fan of Solaris, I'd like to think that was Kelvin.

Driven by curiosity (Hanso's favorite value) and encouraged perhaps by dream visions from the scientists, occupants explore the ruins of Dharma. This process presents the scientists with further opportunities to teach occupants what the Initiative has become, and to prepare the latter mentally and spiritually for inclusion in the supramental consciousness.

The map shows more than just the physical layout of the Island -- it depicts the path to spiritual evolution. I believe Henry Gale has been down that path himself, and judged Locke ready to begin the journey. Look for the latter to keep knowledge of the map to himself and maybe Mr. Eko. Once Locke is off crutches, the two can begin their mythical quest, like Gilgamesh and Enkidu.