Clearly, my theory does not address every single question that is brought up in LOST. In this section, I will attempt to answer any of the big questions offered up by the show. Please submit any new Theory-Related questions to the message board. For questions not related to the theory, please post them to the message board.
Q: How does the theory explain all of the “ghosts/whispers” that people see on the island (Jack’s dad, Kate’s horse, etc, etc).
A: The ghosts and whispers are “fate’s way” of course correcting the universe and leading characters to certain actions – actions which will preserve a pre-determined timeline. Some of the ghost and whispers (Jack’s dad, Jacob, Eko’s brother, and Ben’s Mom) are actually “half dead” physical entities on the island, and they can manifest to certain characters if their presence is needed to help course correct. Other entities (Walt, Kate’s Horse) are merely “visions” that only present themselves to help characters fulfill their fate.
For example: Shannon died because she and Sayid both saw Walt. She was meant to die because of her fundamental change in character. The “old Shannon” would’ve never fallen in love with a man like Sayid, so fate choose to find a creative way to eliminate her so that she couldn’t interfere with other people’s actions, causing a potential disruption in the future timeline. Thus, her love for Sayid ultimately led her to her doom (Anna Lucia).
Jack’s father was also seen alive on the island. This is because Jack’s dad’s dead body, when colliding with the past time in the island (a time when he was still alive), brought Jack’s father back to life as some type of half-dead ghost. This is likely why other characters (Hurley) saw him in Jacob’s house.
The whispers are the half-dead ghosts of DHARMA who were killed in the purge. In a past timeline from 1996-2007, these people were originally working for DHARMA on the island – until Ben went back in time and killed them. Now the whispers are helping the losties to ultimately bring down Ben.
When Hurley gets off the island, he sees the ghost of Charlie because in the original timeline, before Ben went back in time, Oceanic 815 did not crash. However, since Charlie never made it off the island in the new timeline, he can manifest himself to Hurley to help shape Hurley’s actions. Thus, fate can technically force people into certain actions via interactions with other characters, but it cannot physically make people do things.
Once we get to the sixth season in the series, we will be at some type of “showdown” between the losties and their opposing force – DHARMA, the Others and Fate. By that time, all of the remaining characters will have played a key role in surviving to that moment in time. We’ve already seen this though other elements in the show, but we still don’t have all the answers as to why certain people were kept alive, and why certain people were expendable. A few things we know are that: Hurley’s lottery numbers led him to destroy the hatch, Jack’s communication with his father led him to start helping other survivors, etc. However, it won’t be until the end until we truly know everyone’s role in the show. That is why it’s so hard to predict the significance of other characters’ visions.
Q: What is the Smoke Monster?
A: Ah, the big question! The smoke monster is not a machine, nor is it man-made. The smoke monster is fate’s “physical” means of controlling the universe and preserving the timeline. The smoke monster exists only on the island because the island is existing in a past time, where there has already been a pre-determined future – because the losties are technically from the future. Let’s take Eko, for example. He was killed by the smoke monster at the instant at which he had a fundamental change in character. In his flashbacks, he blamed himself for his actions; yet, on the island, he came to realize that he had done nothing wrong. His realization would’ve caused him to make life-altering decisions in the future. Therefore, the smoke monster had to kill him, so that he would not make such decisions. The smoke monster also killed the pilot of 815. This happened shortly after the pilot realized facts about the plane that could potentially affect several people – these facts could’ve changed the perspective of everyone on the island, and thus had a huge impact on everyone.
When the monster is “scanning” people, it is recording their future, and making sure that their current actions correlate with what they do in the future. If the monster sees a discrepancy, it takes action, and in most cases that we’ve seen – it kills someone. Luckily for Kate and Locke, the monster saw that their state on the island wasn’t contradictory to their future-counterparts – therefore, it left them alone.
Q: Can you explain exactly how the plane crash happened, given the island is existing in the year 1996?
A: Note the timeline illustration on my webpage. The island has been looping in the year 1996 (for about 8 years). When Desmond doesn't hit the button, he temporarily exposes the island to the year 2004. In fact, he's exposing the island to the exact time when the plane is flying over the island. Thus, the plane is able to enter the island - and when Desmond resumes pressing the button, the time on the island is reset back to 1996. From that point on, all of the losties are existing on the island in 1996.
Q: Who is Jacob?
A: As we know, dead bodies on the island can exist in a half dead state – due to LOST’s definition of time travel. Hence, if your dead body comes to the island in a time when you are not dead, you are half dead. Jacob is one of these entities. He has died at some point in the past, but was alive in an alternate future - and his body (or presence) is still located on the island. Since we really know nothing about Jacob, it’s hard to tell what, exactly, he’s doing on the island – we can only infer as to “what he is.” I think that the real Jacob was working with Ben and Richard back in the day. Then, the three of them traveled back in time, and Jacob still died. However, Jacob’s spirit was still able to communicate with them, because he was considered half-dead.
Q: Who is Richard and how can he seemingly move between times and places??
A: Richard is the ultimate character of Lost. He has traveled from the future to the distant past. He knows, for the most part, exactly how events are going to unfold for over 100 years! Therefore, he knows exactly where to be at the right moment in time. He knows when Juliet's husband is going to get hit by a bus, so he uses that knowledge to help bring her to the island.
Q: If the crew of Oceanic 815 crash in the past, why did certain people live and certain people die?
A: The plane crash was fate attempting to put a stop to the Others' activities on the island – therefore, only certain characters were necessary to bring down Ben. As we’ve seen throughout the series, almost every character has played a critical role in affecting the actions of the others. On the other hand, DHARMA also played a part in rounding up the people to get on the plane, so, it's really a question of destiny.
Q: If the plane goes back in time to 1996, what happens to the character’s counterparts that previously existed in the original iteration of time
A: Note that the island is in a time loop in the year 1996. Therefore, the characters lives' off the island is irrelevant, considering time is essentially "frozen" in the outside world. However, once the fail safe is hit, time starts moving again in the outside world. This is where the theory reaches an unknown point: will the characters who are now existing on the island in the past (season 5) "replace" their characters off the island, or will there be duplicates? Some of the LOST side-shows suggest that duplicates are possible, but we haven't seen any evidence of that on the show.
Q: Why would a human have to enter the “numbers” every 108 minutes?
A: In order to keep the island suspended in time, it would’ve been a great idea for Ben to reset the time machine every second, or minute. NOT every 108 minutes. That would provide more security on the island, as the island would only be “exposed” for a short period of time. Unfortunately for Ben, there are a few issues. Consider if you program a computer to “set a time machine back 108 minutes” – you’d be sending the computer back to a time BEFORE it was programmed. Therefore, the computer couldn’t program itself to reset the time machine. So, it requires a Human, who can retain memories through time travel to continue to reset the time machine. The other issue that Ben faces is that he can’t just go and tell someone that they have to do this. I mean, who would want to sit around pressing a button on regular intervals? So, Ben finds the Swan hatch, where testing used to take place – it was a convenient coincidence that the testing in that hatch involved the pressing of a button every 108 minutes. Ben decided that 108 minutes would be a “safe” amount of time in which to create the loop. And there you have it – Ben rigged up a contraption to reset time, while hiding its true purpose. It’s the perfect scenario for a guy like Desmond!
Q: If the losties traveled back in time when the plane crashed, why is Claire still pregnant? Were Jack's tattoos that old, too?
A: Juliet says that women who conceive off the island will live; however, women that conceive on the island die. This is true because women who are already carrying a baby have had time to allow it to grow in their womb, prior to going back in time on the island. Claire could’ve technically given birth BEFORE the plane crash if she wanted to – so that is how her baby could’ve lived according to Juliet’s comment. However, I believe that women can’t have babies, not because of any aging of the womb, but because of fate. I think the fact that women can’t give birth is simply fate course correcting to prevent a second entity from entering the world – given the second entity could permanently alter the future. Thus, for all we know, Aaron could’ve been replacing another character on the show – possibly Ethan, who dies at about the same time that Aaron is born. Jack can keep his tattoos because they are a part of his physical body, which does not de-age when he enters the past. The key to the concept of time travel is that if you go back in time, your womb will always age, you will be "temporarily" cured of ailments, and you will not continue to age until you reach the present day in age.
Q: What about the Sonar fence – it’s done some weird stuff so far, like partly killing Mikali and keeping the smoke monster out of the Others’ camp.
A: Ask yourself why the fence has to be “sonar?” Why couldn’t it just be a fence? Furthermore, never has there existed a sonar fence in our day in age. The fact that the show even introduces such an idea is evidence enough to suggest that time travel could be involved! As for the fence itself, I believe it’s actually some type of sonar time-barrier. When Locke pushes Mikhail through the barrier, Mikhail is actually instantaneously passing though the real-world time in the future (where we know he is dead from when he blew up the looking glass). So, in the instant that Mikhail passed through the sonar fence-time barrier, he went dead (because he was meant to be dead in the future). But, then he woke right back shortly after passing through the fence because he went back in time to island time. Also, the fence keeps the smoke monster out. Granted the smoke monster is the course corrector, it would have no need to enter the present time because there is no course correction necessary in the present, because the future has not yet played out yet.
Season 5 Q&A
Q: How does Mrs. Hawking fit into all of this?
A: My guess is that she's Widmore's wife. She may have also time traveled, like Richard, therefore she has a good sense of what is pre-written into the future. Hence, she knows what to say to Desmond to get him to go back to the island.
Season 4 Q&A
Q: What explains the 31 minute time difference between the freighter and the people on the island?
A: The people on the freighter exist in 2004 off the island, while the rest of the island is existing in 1996. Daniel is testing the location of the “special coordinate” this with his payload experiment. Ideally, if the payload went through the exact center of the coordinate, it would arrive to the island instantaneously. The fact that the payload reached the island 31 minutes later suggests that it passed somewhere between the center of the coordinate and the rest of the bubble. I think that the further you get from the center of the coordinate, the more the time differential is that you’d have to pass through. So, maybe if you’re 10 meters from the coordinate, you’re 31 minutes off – but then if you’re 50 meters from the coordinate, you’d be (31x5) 155 minutes off. Each scenario would require more work to find a constant. With the payload experiment, Daniel had deemed that 31 minutes was a safe amount of a time gap.
Q: Why was Daniel crying in his flashback/flashforward, as he was watching the footage of the Oceanic Crash?
A: Daniel is crying because he is a time traveler. He will at some point exist in the year 1996, yet his flashback takes place in 2004 after the fake Oceanic 815 is found. So, somehow his body knows that it existed on the island in a different time, and that he did come into contact with the survivors. The fact that he’s crying is probably because he feels guilty, because somehow he knows that he’s going to be responsible for the deaths of some of the survivors.
Q: Sun conceived while on the island but she still gave birth – why?
A: Note that mothers can’t give birth on the island while the island is in a time loop. That is because time is literally not passing on the island, so the babies can’t grow up in the womb. Also, fate physically can’t allow for a birth to take place because if time on the island isn’t moving, introducing a new entity to the world could potentially impact the will of others. However, Sun conceived while the island was in a time loop; then Desmond turned the key shortly after and the island started moving in real time again, from the year 1996. So, the baby had time to grow. Since we know that Sun gets off the island, and Jin doesn’t, we can make the assumption that Sun’s baby was to replace Jin in the new timeline. Also, note the scene where Jin was bringing a stuffed panda to the other lady while she was giving birth. That scene is from the parallel time in the original timeline, before Ben even went in the time machine. In that timeline, Jin never even met Sun, yet Jin still ended up working for her father.
Season 3 Q&A
Q: Why is Locke in the Casket?
A: When Locke "moved" the island, he took it, and everyone on it, back in time. Locke then left the island in the past and re-lived his life off the island under a different alias. He left the island because he wanted to come back to the real world to re-write the past.
Q: How does Locke’s father appear on the island via the “box?” How does that relate to Sawyer killing him, and then Locke proving to Jacob that he actually killed his father? Then, why does Ben just go and shoot Locke once he admits that he “heard” Jacob?
A: Locke’s dad shows up at the island several days after the time loop stopped. Ben brought Locke’s dad to the island to see if Locke could permanently alter his future. Hence, if Locke would kill his dad in the year 1996 on the island, would Locke still ultimately become paralyzed? That is why Ben shoots Locke: to TEST whether or not Locke is invincible. Another explanation could be that Locke’s father was originally affiliated with DHARMA, and had been on the island before (Possibly around the year 1996 in the original timeline). And, Locke is actually interacting with some type of ghost of his father.
Q: How can Mikhail receive communications in 2004 of the Plane Crash, when the island is currently in a time loop?
A: Mikhail’s communication station has the satellite pointed directly through the special coordinate, which allows passage from island time to real world time. Mikhail said that that when the “sky turned purple” that the communication station stopped working. I think by “stopped working” he meant that he can no longer communicate with the outside world in the year 2004. This is because the island now exists in 1996.
Q: If Ben has traveled back in time from 2007 to 1970? Why does he develop cancer the second time around? If he was cancer-less in the first timeline, why come down with it when he wasn’t “meant to have it.”
A: I’d venture that the first time Ben he lived to 2007, he didn’t have cancer. The second time around, he was completely astonished to find out that he did have cancer! However, the universe ultimately course corrected to have Jack cure him of his cancer. This is just another example of how fate has a funny way of course correcting the universe. I think that although Ben had cancer the second time around, he always knew that “something” would cure him of that. And that “something” was Jack. Note that he never really seemed overly concerned about his cancer throughout the third season. The only surprise was when he found out that he had it. However, him developing cancer just helped his understanding of time travel – and that is that fate can really do anything to you, as long as it can be fixed by one thing or another.
Q: And what about the Res Sox World Series victory? Just a lucky guess by Ben & Co.? What’s with the passports and such.
A: This isn't a guess at all. From the Lostie’s perspective, Ben and Company are “from the future.” Ben, Jacob and Richard lived throughout time to 2007, and then went back in time and killed off DHARMA. Since Ben had lived in the year (or past) 2007, he was able to store historical records and take them back in time with him to 1996 – hence all of his passports and research. He happened to hold on to a tape of the World Series, along with records of people who may or may not be associated with DHARMA. Ben, in fact, is quite powerful. Because the fact that he’s traveled back in time gives him access to worlds records. So, he could potentially have unlimited funding if he so desired. That’s another reason why Miles believes that it should be no trouble for Ben to come up with the money.
Q: Why would Ben and Richard set the loop to contain the time that Ben's tumor manifested itself and would require surgery for him to survive?
A: In Juliet's flashback, when she gives Ben the news about his tumor, she points out that he is surprised. And, in reality, he is! Let's assume that Ben has lived out the years 1996 - 2007 multiple times (assuming he's continued to travel back in time). Each of those past times, he didn't get a tumor. But, in this most recent iteration, he does get a tumor. But, he is healed by Jack. So, at the end of the day, it's like he never really had a tumor - much like the other timelines. So, this is a perfect example of how things can play out differently in alternate timelines, yet, the overall fate of major events can't be altered.
Season 2 Q&A
Q: Why does Walt seem to have so many powers?
A: As we know, Walt has gotten off the island. This would mean that Walt has lived out two iterations of his life in different timelines: One off the island from 1994 – 2004, and then one on the island 1996. Since Walt’s mind existed in 1996 simultaneously, it gave Walt the power to see the future in his original timeline.
Q: How can you explain the food drop? If the island is looping every 108 minutes during the lockdown, then wouldn’t a food drop be coming once every 108 minutes, or not at all?
A: In theory, since we had never seen a food drop in the 108 minute window, there should not be a schedule food drop at that point in time. Back in the working DHARMA days, there probably should’ve been a food drop every few months (based on the amount of food in the container). But, let’s assume that the food drop was timed to be one minute AFTER the 108 minute window. Notice that when the hatch entered lockdown mode, Ben had temporary control over pushing the button. The fact that Ben pushed the button at the last second could’ve suggested that he let the timer slightly ran over 108 minutes. This is dangerous; because it exposes the island to time past the 108 minutes (which the others knew was “safe time”). But, instead, in that 109th minute, the island was scheduled for a regular DHARMA food drop.
Q: What is the relevance of the numbers, and them being 4, 8, 15, 16, etc? How did they play a role in Hurley winning the lottery?
A: I don't think the actual values of the numbers had much to do with anything. They were just a series of numbers that Hurley had heard in his past - and he didn't know they were originating from the island. Then, the island needed someone to believe that they were cursed to ultimately destroy the hatch (Hurley eventually played a role in that). So, fate allowed Hurley to win the lottery, which ultimately brought him to the island, which ultimately lead him to destroy the hatch with the dynamite. I think it’s an arbitrary fact that the numbers were 4, 8, 15, 16, etc – that they were simply designed to stimulate debate, and there's no true significance to the actual values of the number - other than their sum is 108, or that they are coordinates to something. Sorry if that explanation seems underwhelming, but it does appear that the theme of the numbers has been dropped after the second season.
Q: What about Libby? Where did she come from?
A: Libby and her husband were likely working for DHARMA. Their ultimate goal was to “research” anyone in the outside world who may have a connection to the island. She first encounters Hurley at the mental institution, as she was originally tracking down the man who kept repeating the magic numbers “4 8 16, etc.” Widmore and DHARMA then decide to send Libby’s husband to the island. But, before her husband gets to go to the island, he dies and Libby inherits the boat. Not knowing what it was for, she hands it over to Desmond. Unfortunately, Libby, while trying to actually do Desmond a favor, does not realize that fate will ultimately trap him at the island.
Q: How was the orientation film created, and if the Others were so bent on keeping the time loop running, why would they leave the button pushing in the hands of Desmond?
A: Back in the days of DHARMA, the SWAN was originally a test station. People in then SWAN were supposed to press a button for what they thought was some grand purpose. The button only served as a psychological experiment until the time machine was put in the SWAN – hence the pearl monitoring station. The Others snipped out the section of the already made orientation film, so that the button pressers wouldn’t even get the idea to communicate with the computer. The others never really tended to the SWAN station once they had started the time loop because they were always under the impression that Kelvin was pressing the button. Kelvin had an unexpected death at the hands of Desmond, but Ben was able to go to the Pearl and see that people were still pressing the button. Plus, from Ben’s perspective, he has a very limited team of “others:” there are children to look after, and Mr. Friendly trying to tend to Jack and Company. Once wind got out that our heroes had infiltrated Desmond’s button pressing, Ben’s only option is to eventually try to infiltrate the hatch himself – in other words, I think he was probably out of resources on the island and the others simply didn’t have the man power to guard the hatch night and day. Keep in mind that the Others are a small group of people. They don’t clearly don’t appear to have the resources to have the island on guard 24/7.
Q: How did Eko’s brother’s plane end up on the island?
A: As the island was jumping through time in season 5, there was a small window of time in which the island existed right as Eko's brothers plane was crossing over the island. This time period was right around the year 2001. So it was actually Ben's turning of the donkey wheel that allowed the island to exist in a time that would cause the crashing of Eko's brothers plane.
Q: Why does the Swan computer log show the time of Des' bringing the plane down as 9-22-2004? If the island exists in the year 1996, wouldn’t the logs just repeat the same date over and over?
A: When Desmond failed to hit the button, he exposed the island to the year 2004 for a few minutes.
Q: What’s the significance of Penny’s search for Desmond?
A: When the hatch exploded, the island was again temporarily exposed to the year 2004, at which point Penny was deep into her search for desmond. The island's brief presence in 2004 triggered this anomoly to Penny, which alerted her of the location of the island. The only issue was that she didn't know in which year the island was existing.
Q: On a lighter note - got any explanations on the four toed statue?
A: This is just speculation, but I believe the statue was created by DHARMA back in the early 1900’s. We can assume that their leader had only 4 toes, and the statue was made in his liking. However, once DHARMA began experimentation on the Others, they destroyed the statue. They blew it up and tried to bury the remains underwater.
Q: How do Hurley and Sayid intercept the radio signal and hear that old 1940’s music?
A: There could be a few explanations of this. Sayid had mentioned that the radio waves could be bouncing off the ionosphere (the metallic layer in the sky), and Hurley suggests that it could be from a different time. In one sense, a radio signal could’ve came from the year 1940, entered the magnetic bubble that encompasses the island, and it’s been bouncing off the bubble’s magnetic field for decades. On the other hand, if the island is existing in 1996, then Sayid may actually be intercepting a radio transmission from the year 1996.