Why is John Locke Such a Fascinating Lost Character?
John Locke played so many different roles and functions within the plot of ABC's LOST that it's sometimes hard to keep track of them. Nevertheless, is also one of the most fascinating characters within the entire cast. During and following the airing of Lost, the internet was abuzz with prophecies, conspiracy theories and general speculation regarding this mutli-faceted mystery man and the tremendous influence he exerted on the series, the other characters, and the island itself.
What's in a Name? Is John Locke's Name a Clue to His True Identity?
Aside from the Lost character, the other famous John Locke is the British philosopher, physician and intellectual giant famed for his work on the definition and conceptualization of the mind. One of the first empiricists, John Locke the philosopher believed that we can define the self through our continuity of consciousness, or the perpetually unfolding first-person timeline and personalized story through which we experience our lives. Another major contribution of John Locke the philosopher is the theory of tabula rasa, which is Latin for "blank slate". This theory postulates that we come into the world with no inborn or innate ideas of our own - everything we come to know and to be is the result of our minds' constant act of assembling available sensory data into a perpetually advancing conceptualization of reality.
But what does this have to do with John Locke the Lost character? The dashingly bald, impossibly hopeful, gun-toting, shirt-soaking, squint-eyeing John Locke that we came to know and love through the ABC television series? John Locke the Lost character that we meet in the beginning of the series is a bit of a wild woodsman whose penchant for spiritual explanations to natural phenomena borders on pantheism. He speaks of a strange personal miracle that occurred to him immediately following the crash of the cast members' doomed jet liner, and he seems to fit right into the lush tropical surroundings as he traps and hunts his way to sustenance in these newfound wilds.
Interestingly enough, John Locke the Lost character is eventually seen through flashbacks to have been something of a child prodigy. He was recognized as being intellectually gifted at a very young age and visited by various shadowy psycometricians and government agents. In fact, John Locke the British philosopher is also known to have been a child prodigy. By the age of 4 he wrote a letter to his older sister entirely on his own explaining to her in perfect and florid English that he was just putting the finishing touches on his mastery of the Latin language. Clearly the Lost show's creators drew some inspiration for their character from his namesake's own biography.
What Changed for John Locke?
Following a twisting and elaborate course of events leading up to the present time frame of Lost's main plot line, John Locke is pushed from an 8 story window which results in his back being broken and his loss of the use of his legs. He is relegated to a wheelchair, a change that is emotionally and psychologically extremely difficult for him, until he finally receives a piece of advice that strikes him as valid enough to truly peak his interest. One of John Locke's orderlies in the hospital tells him he should go on a walkabout in order to regain contact with his true self and get a grip on his condition. Is is for this reason that John Locke originally ends up in Australia, where he is refused permission to go on a walkabout because of his wheelchair-bound state.
Once John Locke is refused his walkabout, he is forced to board a plane home. It just so happens this flight is the fateful flight 815 that will never reach its original destination. In one of the first major mysters of the Lost television series, John Locke strangely regains the use of his legs following the crash. This is one of the major reaons John Locke is so mystically drawn to the meaning of the island, a stance which often finds him at odds with fellow castaways that believe the crash was an ultimate and final curse of doom...