More on Lost and Jeremy Bentham
The character Jeremy Bentham, whose identity was revealed last night as another name for John Locke, lies in a coffin at the end of the show -- see my earlier posting. The question that has been puzzling me is what to make of this revelation. Since John Locke's name sake is a late 17th century/early 18th century Moral Philosopher and Jeremy Bentham was a Moral Philosopher of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, this must not be coincidental. I don't think this is simply a made up name with no meaning.
Bentham, like Locke, put a great premium on reason, but as a moral philosopher he was much more radical than Locke. So what should we make of it.
In looking at the various dimensions of Bentham's possible relationship to the Island on Lost, the possibility was that it is a Panopticon, a sort of prison where the denizens are observed, but cannot tell that they're being observed. They may know and understand that they're being observed, they just don't know when and how. We saw this in force last season when Jack, Kate, and Sawyer were imprisoned -- and observed. But is the island itself an panopticon, a prison of sorts, in which the keepers observe the denizens doing what Ben Linus calls last night silly experiments?
For the Panopticon and Bentham's part in developing such a prison check this out from Wikipedia.