What’s The Box?

Ben Linus: And now you have a choice. Because if you stop and if you think, I can show you things. Things I know you want to see very badly. Let me put it so you’ll understand. Picture a box. You know something about boxes, don’t you, John? What if I told you that somewhere on this island, there’s a very large box… and whatever you imagined, whatever you wanted to be in it, when you opened that box, there it would be. What would you say about that, John?

The Man from Tallahassee

A bedridden Ben Linus used the above analogy to illustrate to a desperate John Locke just how special a place the Lost island was.  Sure, we viewers have seen people on the island cured of terminal illness and paralysis.  Others (literally) are ageless.  Viewers (and John Locke, from experience) know the island is a place where wonderful things happen, but in the above analogy, Ben hints that the island’s magic isn’t random, and that individuals can have the island make their dreams come true.  A few episodes later (in The Brig), Ben admits the box is a metaphor.

So the subject of this edition of I Want Some Freakin’ Answers is Ben’s magical mystery box, a topic only brought up twice during the series, but which may be the driving force behind some of the mysteries of the Island.

The only other time the box is mentioned is during the fourth season finale, There’s No Place Like Home, when Locke asks Ben whether The Orchid station is “the Box.”  Ben dismisses Locke’s question, later saying that the purpose of the Orchid is the same as all the other DHARMA stations- to conduct “silly experiments.”

So viewers (and Locke) are left with Ben’s metaphor promising a device which could grant one’s heart’s desire.  We’ve never seen it, but have had plenty of evidence of its existence, kind of similar to the way Hawking describing the way DHARMA first found the island.

Because of this, I’m led to believe the whole island is the Box.  One just has to know how to use it.

We find out through the course of the series that there are unique pockets of energy housed on the island.  DHARMA, a group of scientists, created a number of stations to try and harness this energy.  I argued a while back that DHARMA messed up by trying to turn the island’s magic into science.  I still think they did.  But this energy is there for a reason.  It healed Rose’s cancer.  It let Locke walk again.  Perhaps because these people believed it could happen, or in Rose’s case, had someone believe on their behalf, their wishes came true.

In The Man from Tallahassee, Ben showed Locke what “came out of” the Box when he used it: Locke’s father.  It’s probably more accurate to say the resources of the Others enabled Locke’s father to get to the island, but it’s that magic (along with appropriated DHARMA technology) that enabled the Others to travel the world and acquire detailed files on visitors to their Island.

I have no doubt that in this upcoming season, we’ll find out more about the powers of the island.  And then finally, we’ll have some freakin’ answers related to Ben’s analogy. Either way, I’m sure there’s much more in the Island’s box than this one:

2 thoughts on “What’s The Box?”

  1. Good idea that to use the box, one must believe. But I think the box is an actual place-maybe the mysterious temple?

    I’d like to see more exploration of the “worthiness” of the Others’ society. Why did they accept people like Patchy, but wouldn’t have accepted Sayid or Locke (Kate, I can see). Maybe when they branded Juliet during that horrible string of episodes, that disqualified her from ever being a true Other (like gaining admission to the Temple).

  2. The box could be a place, which I can still see, but magic stuff happens all over the Island, that’s why I thought it was more of an around-the-Island phenomenon.

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