Theory of the Light. By Andrew Atkinson.
Overall I am happy with the ending to Lost. The first time I watched it I was severely confused and pretty angry. With episodes like Across the Sea it seemed as though they were setting up to tell us what the island was and solve all the mysteries, but it just didn’t seem to happen, or did it? After watching it a second time I began to see connections all through the series and began to answer things for myself.
So for any LOST fans who think that the show ended without telling us what the Island was. This is my theory of Lost and some answers.
First the obvious, the ending. The island was real and everything on it real. The side time line was limbo in which the Lost characters needed to find the people they most loved from life to move on. The limbo is created through the minds of all dead people and seems to have people living out their lives similar to reality but with the addition of what those people really wanted in life. For Jack and Juliet it was to have a child, for Jin and Sun it was to be together, for Desmond it was Widmore’s approval, for Hurley it was to be lucky, for Locke it was to have a relationship with his father, for Ben to be important and caring to Alex, for Sayid it was to have a good life for Nadia, etc. In the third last scene in the final episode we see Jack’s father telling us about the limbo, he mentions that ‘there is no “now” here’ and that some people had died before him, some long after. It can be assumed that Hurley and Ben lived a long time after Jacks death maybe thousands of years. So is Jack waiting stuck in limbo for people to die? No, as time does not exist in this world or in the next the effect would be when a person dies and moves into limbo or onto the next plane of existence it as though everybody is already dead and these worlds exist separate from the real world.
For some people in limbo they do not want to move on. Eloise does not want to move on or her son to move on because she fears losing him once he realises he is dead as he would want to move on with Charlotte. Also Ben he does not want yet to move on as he still has unfinished business with Alex and Danielle and would fear losing Alex in the same manner.
When the group moves on we witness the light, like that on the island, shining through the door and windows of the church.
So what is the light?
The light made the Island special, it made the island and people travel through time and space, healed people, made people immortal but also made people sick and even in some cases unable to procreate. It created a smoke monster and somehow gave the Islands protector abilities (immortality, creation of unbreakable rules, crossing in between Limbo and the living world etc.)
The light is the same light from the afterlife/limbo world crossing over into the living world.
Here is why I believe this.
In Across the Sea the former Island protector and Jacob’s/Man in Black’s fake mother says that the light is Life, Death, and Rebirth. She also states that there is a little bit of light inside everyone.
Back to the beginning of the show the writers have included so many occurrences of dead people, ghosts, people in limbo, the majority of which occurring on the island, with the exception of Hurley and Miles.
From the episode Across the Sea we get from MIB a theory can be proposed through the wheel device that the Island has some sought of protection instinct. The device as said in the episode was designed so that a small amount of water would come into contact with the light when the wheel is turned which would cause the person to be moved. So the Island would react to the threat moving the Island through time and space (to one of the other ‘electromagnetic hot spots’ as mentioned in previous episodes) and move the threat (the person turning the wheel) far away from the Island, through time and space.
The key event which allows us to see what the light actually is, is when Desmond is hit with the super electromagnetic field. What happens is he is able to see his life in the dead version of himself in Limbo and the Limbo version of himself is able to realise that he is dead by seeing into the living world, and of course Desmond misinterprets this as another place that he thinks is real (not limbo) and will go to after he puts out the light. What we get from this is that there is a concentration of light inside Desmond and this light reacted with the super electromagnetic field which caused the light to crossover from the Limbo/After life Desmond into the living Desmond and vice versa.
We can relate this to the Island where the Island plug is some sought of ancient device which works with the specific points on the planet where these huge electromagnetic fields are, the reaction of the water, the plug and the field creates a massive superconductor which allows the light from the afterlife to cross over into the living world.
If we use the theory that the light is the light form the afterlife crossing into the living world we can explain a lot of the unanswered mysteries:
Dead people – the light from the afterlife allows dead people to cross between worlds on the Island. In some cases like Michael they are stuck there because of the regrets they had in life. The island acts not as a place between life and death but a place where both worlds can exist together.
Time travel – As mentioned before by Jack’s father, in the Limbo/afterlife there is no time. The light exists separate from time so when people or objects come into contact with it the reaction is time travel. (When Ben turned the wheel it became jammed in the ice, causing the ice to melt from the warmth of the light each time the foreign water came into contact with the light, the Island reacted by moving though time).
The Bomb – it never blew up. If it had blown up the Island would be pretty much annihilated and along with it all the candidates who would protect the Island. The Island knew this and in order to protect itself it reacted instinctively and moved everyone through time away from the bomb. The ‘Incident’ was always the Lost people attacking the hatch.
Healing – ‘The light is life, death, rebirth.’ The light inside people reacts with the light on the island, and in different ways for many people. For some bad things happen (inability to procreate, sickness) and it causes death, but in others good things happen (Locke and Rose healed, Sayid brought back to life) and it causes life. The explanation for Sayid’s resurrection may have some connection to light source and the water traveling through it. There may some underground flow or connection for the water from the light to the temple water which gives the water properties of life and death and reacts different ways with different people when submerged in it.
Smoke monster – this is can only be guessed but maybe the way the light reacts has a lot to do with the light inside people. In the case of MIB, when he hit the light it was during the process of death and in an act of evil, fear and vengeance. When MIB went into the light all the light from inside him was drained so he came out as darkness. This would explain somewhat why he could not go back into the light himself or else he would be filled once again with the light and in turn move on.
Normal people with abilities – The light inside people may be bigger and more potent in specific people. In the case of people born on the Island, like MIB, Jacob and Miles they are born with a part of the Islands light in them, which gives them their abilities like being able to see and hear the dead. In Hurley’s case he might just be a one in a million person who is born with a greater portion of light to others which allows him to do what he does. People being born with greater potency of light in them on the Island may also answer the question of why women couldn’t give birth. The island or Jacob might have seen this as a threat to the eventual safety of the island and so put an end to child birth on the island.
I know there are plenty more mysteries which I haven’t answered here but try to use this theory to answer them. If not send me your questions and I will try to figure them out in my own twisted way.
There are of course many mysteries that are so confusing they would be impossible to answer like how is there a device that uses mirrors to look into people’s past, present and future? How did it get there? How did the cork, the light cave or the island come to existence? Did MIB have a name? How do Jacob and MIB use the powers of the light or gain those powers?
At the end I think it is good that they left it open for us, as it allowed for us to find our own meaning and definitions in the show. In the end you can see that it was always really about the characters and their journey through life and death and in particular one character, Jack. We saw his story begin with his eye opening and coming to life and when his story ended with his eye closing and his death on the island, the whole story ended, leaving us open to wonder and to talk about for years to come everybody else and their journey and all the mysteries that were created throughout the show.
Thanks for reading and thanks to everyone involved in Lost, the best show ever.
Theory of the Light. By Andrew Atkinson.