Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Hurley "Hugo" Reyes: The Clown of God,or: An Excellent Start to Season 4

So, in lieu of actively reading Lost Books (and I have heard that this season should be bringing us a few more), I'm happy to devote some more time on the blog to fan-ish pursuits. Namely, I think it's okay to talk about what things LOST reminds us of. I can't purport to be too involved in the socio-political and philosophical threads running through LOST, but I am always interested in picking up on the mythical and religious threads that are right there for the taking. And my bias is from the Catholic story of the way things are, so be warned. This gets a little (or a lot) kooky.

So, basically, Spoiler Alert if you haven't seen The Beginning of the End.
I think everything Hurley saw, even in dubious circumstances (some other crazy guy saw it), was very very real. Especially Jacob's shack and Charlie. The show went to some length to prove this (or to get people who want to believe it to believe it) : Christian (who Hurley has never seen) was in Jacob's chair, Charlie stated as much: "I am dead. But I'm also here." So we say: How the heck does that work? Is it uhhh the smoke monster? Is it just Hurley being a looney?

Here's how I see the visions/appearances. I think that the things Hurley is seeing, and at least some of the other people who should be dead that we've seen--Christian, Ben's mother, etc. are not the smoke monster or delusions or even run of the mill ghosts--they are instead, super-real, beyond our earthly perceptions. Why do they show up on the island? Hm. Good question.

Aurora was trying to explain her sense of this to me, and I finally got it with some stretching. You know how Jesus rose from the dead? When he came back, he rose bodily, he wasn't a ghost, but he wasn't alive either. He could probably do some pretty awesome not-alive-not-dead stuff. In the Catholic tradition, of course, saints and the Virgin Mary show up every once in a while to tell people important stuff, and..though I don't know if they're physically there, they aren't ghosts in the spooky sense either. So that's what I think these appearances are: the dead among us, not in our heads, not a party trick, but the real deal. They are so real they defy our perception.

So why Hurley? Well, I think, as you may see above, that Hurley is a Clown of God, in the Christian tradition of the Holy Fool. On a less churchy level, there's a nice idea that says that maybe the people we think are crazy really have supernatural sense. The religious model is about the same...Those who don't succeed in the eyes of greater, and often-times very flawed society, but who have an inner peace and insight that helps others and also brings them closer to the divine.

The wikipedia article has some interesting insights into the phenom:

"The madness of the yurodivy was ambiguous, and could be real or simulated. He (or she) was believed to have been divinely inspired, and was therefore able to say truths which others could not, normally in the form of indirect allusions or parables. "

and from Anthony the Great:

"Here comes the time, when people will behave like madmen, and if they see anybody who does not behave like that, they will rebel against him and say:"You are mad", - because he is not like them."

Hurley is not an outcast per se but he is a far cry from the status quo, and his greatest gift, consistently, has been gentleness and peacefulness which has helped all of the Losties at one point or another. He doesn't have a great drive to succeed, or get rescued, or get revenge, or figure everything out. When Big Mike threatens to send him to the nuthouse he says "Please do!". He doesn't function that well as a regular member of society, and he shouldn't have to. Sometimes, as in Hurley's case, it ain't broke, but everybody keeps trying to fix it anyway (I think this goes for Locke too)...On the island, you don't have to fix it.

Anyway: I think Hurley is like the Clown of God. The Clown of God that I'm most familiar with is the Tomie dePaola story about a traveling clown who was always on the fringes of society, enjoyed when he was performing and sort of ignored (and sometimes derided) the rest of the time. In the end, he brings his gift of juggling to the statue of Mary and Jesus...and makes a stern statue of the child Jesus smile. It's better if you read it. It is one of those kids books that makes me cry when I think about it.

The point is, that even if society doesn't recognize or incorporate your gifts, God does. And I think somebody out there is looking out for Hurley. Of course, something is also out to get him (oh hey, the numbers), but Jacob loves him (assuming Jacob is good) and Charlie loves him (and I am sure Charlie is good). And that last one is really important. Hurley is blessed, and blesses other people with his gifts all the time.

And that's why he can see Charlie. Or so I think.
In the very likely case that I'm wrong, oh well. But it's nice to think about what a hardcore good dude he is. At the very least, I think there's alot more going on then simple mental instability. There always has been. Thanks, all.

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