ABC hit ‘Lost’ is all about the numbers

By on February 8, 2006

4 8 15 16 23 42. These numbers have been plaguing the dreams of the millions of viewers that tune into the ABC blockbuster hit “Lost” every Wednesday night. The numbers first appeared in the first season of “Lost” as the numbers Hurley (Jorge Garcia) picked to win the $156 million Mega-Lotto jackpot. The numbers are cursed and seem to do more harm than good for the people in Hurley’s life. In an effort to save the lives of those he loved, he chose to fly across the Pacific Ocean, leaving behind friends and family-on the plane that crashed on the deserted island-and the numbers followed Hurley’s trail. Since then, the numbers have become a phenomenon.

Rory Cahalan, an undeclared liberal arts major, says “each week the numbers leave me with more questions than answers. It’s what makes ‘Lost’ such a great show.”

“Lost” revolves around a science project called “The Dharma Initiative.” According to the Buddhist religion, dharma means truth. The numbers must be entered into the computer located inside the project’s hub every 108 minutes so that the timer does not hit zero (note: 4+8+15+16+23+42=108)-this process is the main project of the Dharma Initiative. The number 108 is very meaningful in Buddhism and appears in many Buddhist scriptures. What happens when the timer hits 0? That remains a mystery; once the numbers are reentered, the clock resets to 108 minutes.

The numbers can also be read into coordinates: 4.81516 South Latitude 2342 West Longitude. These coordinates lie in the Pacific Ocean, in a direct line between Sydney and Los Angeles-the exact path that the Oceanic Airlines plane was going to make before it crashed on the unknown island.

Fan sites like and LostHatch.Com have dissected “Lost” scripts and reviewed episode footage to analyze any mention of the numbers. According to their findings, the numbers have had significant impact of the lives of all of the characters-on and off the island. Think that’s confusing? One of the show’s executive producers and creators, J.J. Abrams, claims “they may have no meaning whatsoever.”

Freshman communications major, Greg Howe, said “I honestly have no idea what the numbers mean and why they’re on the island as well as in the lives of all the characters. That’s why I continue to watch every episode.”

This could explain why “Lost” is such a ratings powerhouse. Viewers want to know how and why the cast is constantly being barraged by the numbers!

As if the plot wasn’t hard enough to follow with the numbers craze and character flashbacks, the rest of season two should prove quite unpredictable. Five more characters will be introduced in the coming weeks-presumably from The Others group that has terrorized the island. Rumor has it that Walt will be found-safe and sound-and several other mysteries will unfold. The most recent Official “Lost” Podcast also tells us that we’ll find out why Hurley hasn’t lost any weight, what happens when the timer hits zero, and what is behind the mysterious magnetic wall. Stay tuned.


About Will Karvouniaris