Saturday, February 14, 2009

LT203: The Black and White Theory


As mentioned a couple of posts ago, I’m working on a new theory. In my mind a theory should explain the whole of LOST so technically these Biscuits and Gravy and MJ theories are really just pieces of the whole. I suspect the same for this latest proposal. However, I’m hopeful that the sum of these various pieces are getting us closer to the explanation of LOST. And if not, they are tons of fun considering! Well, I hope you feel that way.

The teaser for this theory was that it was to be named after a song by Three Dog Night.

The world is black
The world is white
It turns by day
And then by night
It turns by night

It would seem to be giving a lot of credit to the writers to suggest they knew to include music from Three Dog Night in the show (Shambala) and then have us drift to their other songs to find “Black and White”. This in turn should lead us to a prevalent theme in LOST. Consider that if this was the writers’ intention then they deserve Nobel prizes for their effort when you consider all the cross-referencing that goes on in this show!

However, if we wish to hold back our praise, then we still can marvel out how these connections can still be made even if the credit goes to, well…Fate. Hey, I know this is just a TV show, but anyone would be hard pressed to find such a fine piece of fiction that can sustain this level of mental tickling, right? Did I just write “mind tickling”? Ok, maybe I am going a bit too far. So, before I disappear in bright flash, let’s get to the theory of Black and White.


This episode title stands out as the single most revealing title in the series. Now if we were asked to include a conjunction for this title in the place of the comma, I would have suggested “Man of Science OR Man of Faith”. My impression up to this point was that the show was exploring the long-standing question of which side is right, the scientific believers or the religious believers?

However, I am now of the impression that the conjunction “and” is the more appropriate choice: “Man of Science AND Man of Faith”.

Over several posts my objective is to offer some evidence that supports that LOST is about the marriage of these two schools of reasoning and not the separation of the two.


Let’s set the stage by reviewing some of the key instances where the Black and White theme is found in LOST.

The list begins with the title and opening credits.

Then we have every Dharma logo in black and white.

The first time the black and white theme appeared on the show was with Locke explaining the game of Backgammon to Walt.

And we have those stones found on Adam and Eve.

The mural in the Swan hatch features a face that is half black and half white.

The countdown clock is black and white.

Rose and Bernard are a pairing of black and white.

Eko and Yemi wear a black and white priest suit.

The chess pieces at the cold weather monitoring station are black and white. Same with the pieces in the computer game of chess that Locke plays at Mikhail’s abode. The pieces are balck and white when Hurley plays the invisible Mr. Ecko. Same with Jack and Ben’s game of chess.

A black number 8 is stamped on a white bunny.

A black and white yin/yang symbol is found on the lamp at Rachel’s place.

When Charlie dives down to the Looking Glass Station he loses his shoe:

Several police cars are shown in the standard black and white style.

Sayid plays golf before killing using a white glove while his victim is wearing a black glove.

Juliet’s Zen garden has a black and white stone in the center.

Jin buys a black and white panda bear as a gift.

Aaron is holding a black and white stuffed whale.

And finally, Daniel wears that black tie with his white shirt…leaving one to wonder where his pocket protector went.


It is apparent the theme of black and white is scattered throughout the show. It is my theory that this theme is the foundation of the show’s purpose and the island’s mythology. So be on the lookout for posts with the title of Black and White Theory. Let me know if you think there is some connection to the observed use on the show and my crackpot ideas!

Thanks for reading!


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