LOST Theories - DarkUFO

MIB is a Psychopomp by Larisa

Hi all. The usual caveat: I don't know if anyone has already posted this theory, but I have not seen it. If it has already been posted, I apologize in advance. If not, then let's have at it.

Please also note that I have a bunch of sourcing/links in my original version of this, but I did not know how to include them here. So for the full blog post with links and all the bells, see here: http://www.atlargely.com/atlargely/2010/03/lost-68-the-psychopomp.html



After Tuesday's episode, which in itself only revealed something small to the overall plot (more on this later), I started wondering why it is the candidates are called "the candidates." Look in any dictionary and you will find that the definitions typically given are as follows and IN THIS ORDER:

1. Someone who chooses to run for office

2. Someone who is chosen to run for office

3. Some who is pre-destined for something

4. Someone seeking a degree in a field of study

The candidates could have been called any number of things, so the use of the term is telling. And then it all hit me at once. It was so simple, that I entirely dismissed this possibility seasons ago.

If Jacob's candidates are people in the running to replace him (not by choice), then whatever Jacob's role is, it is more of a position or office. And as I starting thinking about the concept of "office," I suddenly recalled a book I have - part of a larger series - called On a Pale Horse by Piers Anthony. Here is a nice summary from Wiki:

"In the late 20th century, Zane is living a pathetic life without money or employment. When a magic gem merchant cheats Zane out of an opportunity for romance, Zane decides to take his own life. As he starts to pull the trigger, he sees the spectre of Death (Thanatos) advancing on him. Startled, he pulls the gun from his own head and shoots Death right between the eyes. He is then visited by a woman who introduces herself as the incarnation of Fate, who insists that Zane must now assume the position of the man he has killed, since whoever kills Death must become the new Death

This entails residing in Purgatory and visiting Earth to collect the souls of humans who are in a close balance of good and evil and cannot determine their eternal destination (Heaven or Hell) without help."

In other words, death and life are offices held by once mortal beings. The personification of death and life in the form of a person or animal is called a psychopomp and most religions, myths and/or cultures have a names for that being.


Throughout Lost, the most prominent theme we have seen is Egyptian. Below are but three examples and what each symbol represents:

1. The statue of Taweret: (the statue in whose foot Jacob lives): is the goddess of childbirth, rebirth, and the guider of the dead through the afterlife.

2. Anubis: When Ben enters the temple in Dead is Dead, he is visited by the smoke monster posing as his dead daughter Alex. If you look at the temple wall (at left), you will see a carving of Anubis. Who is Anubis? The god of mummification and guider of souls on their journey through the underworld.

3. Countdown Timer: Desmond, and later Locke, et al, have to input the Velenzetti Equation numbers into the countdown timer every 108 minutes. Failure to enter the numbers ( triggers a display of hieroglyphics (at left). What does set of glyphs mean? Death or underworld.

Now let's add to that the dark/light dichotomy we have seen building:

From the pilot (2) of Season 1, we have been told about the game of backgammon in a way that leads to conclude it is symbolic of something on the show. This theme has become more prominent in season five and six.

Now, the modern version of backgammon is based on an ancient Egyptian game called senet:

"By the end of the Eighteenth Dynasty in 1293 BC, the senet board had been transformed into a simulation of the netherworld, with its squares depicting major divinities and events in the afterlife.

Tomb inscriptions at this time refer to the player as a deceased contestant playing in the necropolis against an invisible adversary - his own soul. This may explain why so many New Kingdom tomb paintings show seemingly opponentless senet players."

A senet board is usually buried in the tomb of the departed. Now watch the clip of MIB and Jacob having their conversation as Black Rock approaches in Season 5(video at blog).

We see a man who is light, hopeful, for progress. We also see a man who is dark, misanthropic, and convinced that everything always ends the same, without progress.

So let's recap to make sure we are all on the same page:

* The candidates are chosen to replace the office that Jacob (and likely MIB both) hold
* There is a long history in most all religions, myths, and cultures of personifying death (and life)
* The island's main themes are death oriented via ancient symbols and concepts
* Even the shows driving force (1 dark, 1 light...) is based on an ancient game played by the dead during their journey through the underworld.
* Jacob is light, seems to give life, extend life, and heal the living
* MIB is dark, takes life, shortens life, and abuses the living with images of the dead

My conclusion based on all of the above factors (and then some) is as follows:

* Jacob is life personified, holding a cosmic office of sorts
* MIB is death personified, holding a cosmic office of sorts
* Both were human until they were made "candidates" for their respective offices
* Their conversation on the beach is indicative of their inherent (office holding) characteristics.
* Death wants to take destroy, corrupt, and take life as this is inherent to death personified ("Do you have any idea how much I want to kill you?").
* Life wants to create, develop, and look to the future as is inherent to life personified (Jacob cannot defend himself by killing Ben because he cannot kill).
* Neither Jacob or MIB are inherently evil or inherently good. They are simply the personification of their individual offices.

Without death and life, the world would have no ability to exist. That is why each office-holder must be protected (Jacob) and kept in check (MIB). Jacob cannot kill MIB because Jacob personifies life. MIB cannot kill Jacob, because the cosmic rules demand that in order for their to be death, there must also be life.

When death finds a loophole (John Locke), he selects one of the "life candidates" to accomplish his murder of Jacob.

MIB is death, that is his name. He was once human and was given a choice like we see Sayid being given now. He chooses to take the office by allowing his soul to die (did you see how dead Sayid looks?).

Death/MIB wants to destroy all life, forever, because that is his nature. So much so, that he himself wants to die (but cannot kill himself). I think the death of death is what MIB means by "going home."

Jacob, however, calls death a "friend" and understands that both must exist for either to exist. More importantly, both must exist in order for humanity to exist as change (death/life cycle) is part of our nature.

What is the island then? It is the game board on which life and death play, which would make it time. The island is time personified. If you need any more proof, then consider how the island is moved - donkey wheel.

Chronos (Greek god of time) is depicted spinning the wheel of time:

"He was depicted in Greco-Roman mosaics as a man turning the Zodiac Wheel. Often the figure is named Aeon (Eternal Time), a common alternate name for the god"

Most cultures have a god of time. In Egypt for example, depending on when and where, Chronos' counterpart was Toth or Osiris or Pta, etc. All cultures also have the wheel of time or the wheel of sculpting (potter's wheel).

Questions (I have tentative answers to):

1. Does this mean that the Losties are dead? I think they are in the process of it, yes.
2. How does the Valenzetti equation play into this? The equation is said to predict the end of the world. I have noted in the past that this need not be a modern concept. Instead, this could be based on ancient mysticism. But the killing of life personified by death personified would certainly be a world-ending kind of thing I think.
3. How are the candidates selected: I think the numbers are key, not the equation. I will say no more for fear of being entirely right and spoiling things.


One more thing I wanted to point out is something I just realized when considering the characters' names. All this time I have focused on the names as representing philosophical points of view (Locke, Hume, etc.). But something struck me recently that I had not considered before. I think it is very important.

Jacob's name means he "who supplants" (substitutes). While this too tends to support my theory that Jacob and MIB are cosmic office holders, it is not the main thing I wanted to explore. What are the variants of the name Jacob or Yakov? Do you know? Here is a short list:

* James (Sawyer)
* Jack (Shepherd)
* John (variant of Jack)(Lock)
* Iago (which is also Ugo, possibly Hugo?)
* Jin (possibly John or Jack variant?)

I am not sure what this means, but I thought I would point it out anyway.

Some additional points, questions from this episode:

1. MIB tells us his mother was crazy, like Claire

2. It is important that we know who killed the people by the Ajira plane and what is in the locked room on the sub

3. What did MIB/Locke say to Claire to get her to apologize to Kate? That seemed odd, no?

4. Does Miles still have his powers in the Sideways reality?

5. Why does MIB send Sawyer to the other island? Why does he not go himself? Better still, why does he not use his supernatural powers to gage what is going on?

Until next week. Thoughts?

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