Guest Post: Lost Fathers and the Issac Complex
by Edward Wilson
Lost is exploring, or perhaps creating, a non-freudian father issue which I’m going to call the Issac complex. Rather than a sexual trine involving the mother, this father issue centers around the father’s betrayal and abandoning of the child. Psychologically this is very similar territory to that explored by Fight Club. The biblical story of Issac and Abraham is that god asks Abraham to sacrifice or murder his son Issac as an act of faith and that just as he is about to kill his son, God relents in this demand. This story is recounted in Lost.
Character names are very significant in Lost and the ultimate authority on the island is named Jacob, who biblically the son of Issac. Interestingly Jacob seems to have a tendency to turn on and banish his representative leaders. Additionally, Jack’s father, Christian Sheppard is taking over as his spokesperson.
Whereas Fight Club locates the solution to this issue in the creation and assumption of a new image of masculinity, the aggressive trickster figure of Tyler Durden, Lost has thus far shown us two solutions. We
are shown forgiveness and acceptance of the bad dad in Hurley’s story and violent rejection of the betraying father in John Locke and Sawyer’s murder of John’s father.
Given the Gnostic themes of the show it behooves me to point out that the ultimate example of the bad dad theme would be the Gnostic Demiurge or the bad creator god. In Demiurgic Gnosticism the creator god is an evil entity that has trapped us in this creation. The Gnostic Christ, or son, would be expressed in those same two modes, rejection of the Father’s world or forgiveness and redemption of it.