By Boyd Hall, VI Form
Two Worlds, One Mind (ABC’s LOST, Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Huxley’s Island)
Jacob, the protector of the Island in LOST, brings me to his island because he believes that the island will force me to confront my flaw in order to survive. My idealistic thoughts hinder me from seeing the reality of situations. I romanticize my hopes for the future until those thoughts consume my mind. Like Ferdinand in The Tempest, who is so entranced when meeting Miranda that he fails to understand the responsibilities of marriage and living on an island forever, I overlook commitments in order to see the perfect aspects of my life. On the island, I learn that indulging myself in quixotic dreams restrict me from focusing on my current being because surviving without materialistic aid requires focus and attention to the present.
The prospect of living my ideal life, where freedom is ample and available at any moment, is a black hole where my mind tends to travel. I often find comfort in thinking about the future where my body and soul are free from societal standards, but those thoughts do little to benefit my progression of self. In LOST, Bernard has his sights set on getting off the island and doesn’t realize the opportunity he has to spend time on a beautiful island with his wife who is magically cancer-free. At times in my life, I fail to see beauty because I am looking forward to another opportunity, one that may be better, but those thoughts only bring a false sense of contentment. Although Ferdinand is flawed in his understanding of marriage, he demonstrates his ability to live in the moment to seek his love for Miranda: “My heart fly to your service, there resides/To make me slave to it, and for your sake/Am I this patient log-man” (III.I.77-79). A sense of my current existence is something that I lack. Jacob sees potential in my ability to overcome my habit of fantasizing, so he summons me to his island.
In a similar manner to Will Farnaby in Aldous Huxley’s Island, I am not fully aware of my surroundings when I first arrive on Jacob’s island: “But Will Farnaby was neither here nor now… The dry leaves rustled beneath him, he was trembling. Violently, uncontrollably, he was trembling from head to foot” (Huxley 8). On the island, my thoughts often drift to places where I am full of joy, and I am comfortable with myself. These feelings turn my attention away from figuring out ways to survive. Because I am alone on the island, I cannot rely on anyone else to control my life, so I must make changes in order to live. Hunting is a practice of patience and requires complete awareness of my surroundings. I use all my senses to gather knowledge about the environment so that I can make the best decisions for my survival. To hone my attention to the present, I use a Buddhist and Hindu practice to guide me. Such as Huxley uses a bird to call “‘Attention’” (6) and “‘Here and now, boys’” (8) to the inhabitants of the island of Pala so their focus is enhanced, I will call myself into the present through meditation. Grounding myself through breathing exercises helps me hunt, explore, and keep a stable mind. In a situation of being alone on an island, control over my mind and body is the most prominent tool of survival. The island teaches me how to reel in my fanciful imagination to live my life consciously and with purpose, so that I may survive in a dire situation.
One of the key aspects to control a mind that is not focused on the present is to appreciate circumstances and discover peace within them. On the island, I adapted a thought process similar to that of John Locke from LOST. He was paralyzed from the waist down before arriving on the island. When he was given this opportunity to challenge himself spiritually and physically with working legs, he valued his life in the present moment and took advantage of the circumstance he was in. The past has already happened and the future is unknown, but the present is full of opportunity to build upon one’s existence. With the rise of new technologies, establishing a sense of the present is seemingly harder. The rise in depression and anxiety in teenagers can be related to the number of distractions that plague thought processes and decisions. As societies progress, life is no longer a day to day fight for survival. Rather, life has become dependent on societal stimulation through human interaction, technology, and controlled resource markets. This dependency creates a sense of security resulting in a lack of focus towards each moment. All people need their own “island” moment to center themselves and have a deeper understanding of their existence.
Boyd Hall is a VI Form boarding student from Boylston, MA. He enjoys the outdoors, plays lacrosse, and is fond of wasabi peas.
All other images: amazon.com