So far the only Dharma Station we know of that exists off-Island, it’s a fair bet that The Lamp Post was also the first Dharma Station built – at least of the ones we know of. This is hardly a major logical feat to proclaim: The Lamp Post exists to find the Island so it follows that it was built first, located the Island, and then all on-Island Dharma Stations subsequently appeared.
The Lamp Post resides beneath a church in Los Angeles. There’s no real way of knowing for sure, but I would imagine that the church was not built by Dharma. What was important was the location – it being the case that the church was reported to be situated over a pocket of electromagnetic energy. There’s been a precedent for this during the episode S.O.S., when Rose and Bernard traveled out to Australia to see Isaac of Uluru, the spiritual healer, who talked of there being particular energy points on Earth with more concentrated power.
Consider the healing properties of the Island as a more focused composition of such energy and it’s a perfect illustration of why the Island is such a desirable location. If there are these pockets of energy all over the world then could it be rationalised that the Island is an ultimate product of this energy? Maybe even a control source, or combined end result? Bear with me, as this does all tie back in to The Lamp Post.
Think of a magnifying glass prism, with a beam of light shone through it.
You set this prism down in a large empty room and shine a light through it. The intensified beam is shot out to some other point in the room. Now you take another prism, and set it down in a different place. You shine another light through the beam and angle the prism so that the intensified beam crosses with the beam emitted from the other prism. You repeat this process, all around the room, with various different prisms. You angle it all just right and, somewhere, at some point, there will be one focused point of all these light beams combined.
Take that idea and apply to electromagnetic pockets of energy, all over the world. Is the Island, like the focused point of light, the central element for all this energy and it is this very truth that makes the place so unique, and so incredible?
The difference with the Island is that it is not easily located, especially given it can move around in time and space. Yet here is where The Lamp Post enters the picture. Imagine you’re a Dharma scientist, studying these electromagnetic pockets of energy. You come to understand that they are dotted all over the world and then you wonder, like the prisms and beams of light, whether there might be some centralized source or end product for all this energy. You theorize about the existence of such a place, such a place of electromagnetic energy, based on the evidence you have already gathered.
It would be like an astrophysicist realizing a black hole existed. Black holes being these dense, all-powerful suction forces, the astrophysicist wouldn’t need to find the black hole, only observe the behaviour of gravity and light around the area where a black hole may be to figure one existed.
The light from a star bends in a certain direction towards an apparently empty piece of space, therefore the conclusion is the existence of a Black Hole in that empty space. Elementary, dear Watson, as some detective may have fictionally muttered. Again, apply the principle to the Island and the energy pockets all around the world and I think my point is made. And, again, this is where the Lamp Post enters the picture. A Station designed to find the theoretical place of ultimate electromagnetic energy.
Dharma may not necessarily have been as brilliant as all that scientific deduction may imply, mind. In the Lamp Post there was a photograph of the Island as apparently sourced from the military, who we know were there before Dharma were.
Not to mention the scraps of evidence from the story of the Black Rock, that Island-fanatic Widmore was intent on picking up. . .
We’ve been given pieces of evidence to suggest the Island is a myth that certain interested parties have been investigating for a long period of time. Dharma – via a “very clever” individual we don’t yet know – figured out how to actually pinpoint the place.
(On a sidenote, Charles Widmore almost certainly could not have known anything about The Lamp Post or else he would have surely used it to find the Island for himself. Penny Widmore, and her Listening Post (again, potentially located on one of these ‘energy pockets’ of the world) basically tracked down the Island using the principle of finding a larger source of electromagnetism, which is similar to how the Lamp Post functions, but without the aid of prediction.)
So. The Lamp Post. Dharma discovered a pocket of energy they were interested in. Probably they discovered there was also a church over it, but figured the church provided a decent cover so long as they could monopolise the underground area. The complicated banks of computers and co-ordinates. . .
. . . sell the idea of an elaborate mathematical process at work, but the fundamental notion is simplistic enough. Via these energy pockets, and the existence of a strong electromagnetic energy emanating from (or to) the Island, The Lamp Post can register where the Island is, and, as was important for the return of the Oceanic 6, when the Island will be. Simple stuff, really. There’s just a couple of other bits and pieces to address in the interests of completeness.
The name of The Lamp Post itself is derived from the C.S. Lewis book The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. In Narnia, one of the first curious sights seen upon entering the world through the wardrobe is a lamp post in the middle of the forest.
There’s an explanation for this in a prequel story of Narnia, about some guy finding a means of traveling to different realms – one of those realms being London. A piece of London – a bit of lamp post – got brought back to Narnia and it ‘grew’ like a tree into the lamp post standing in the forest. Symbolically the lamp post in the story stands as proof of an other world, and also a signal that the means by which to travel to this other world is close by. Dharma’s Lamp Post could be held by the precise same symbolic definition, but for the Island.
If this is perhaps the last Dharma Station we will ever learn of (I appreciate The Temple has been affixed with a Dharma logo, but there’s really no evidence thus far to support any research or purpose or even existence of a proper Station there), it’s perhaps fitting that it is with this post I consider the idea that The Lamp Post when we saw it, as run by Eloise Hawking, serves to prove that the Dharma Initiative is no more. Eloise herself remarked that it was “they” that built the place, distancing herself from association with Dharma. And, as we know, she was very much an Other which makes it even further unlikely she has anything to do with them.
There was that curious moment, in Desmond’s flashback with Brother Campbell, where Eloise appeared in the same (badly photoshopped) photograph.
I could make a wild reach and state that Brother Campbell learned of the Lamp Post beneath the church (because all members of the clergy know about all churches, right!?) and informed Eloise Hawking about it and she took it from there – but it’s utterly unsubstantiated guesswork on the basis of one photograph. Not that important either, really. Though I am intrigued with the one, lingering mystery around who this “very clever” individual was that designed the pendulum that could locate the Island. Insta-hunch-guess: Daniel Faraday.
Reared by Eloise to be scientifically brilliant enough to potentially circumvent the time-travelling narrative that resulted in her killing her own son, maybe there’s further time shifting, alternate timeline events that somehow make Dan become this “very clever” man! And hey, if such a thing as that is possible then who am I to write off the Dharma Initiative at all? Maybe somewhere, somewhen, there’s a hitherto unknown Dharma Station keeping the Initiative’s flag flying – but until such a revelation this is the end of the line as far as this series of posts is concerned.
There’s really nothing more to say but. . .