LOST Theories - DarkUFO

Nature/Nurture by Brian

First off, I have no idea how the "main" timeline and the "alt" timeline come together if they do at all. But I do believe the alt timeline, regardless of how it fits in, shows something important and basic.

If we assume the split of the two timelines occurred after every main character was born (not a given but a fair assumption given the state of the island shown underwater), we can assume the birth of each character, regardless of timeline, was the same. That is, the "nature" aspect of each timeline (for our characters) is the same.

Given that, it shows the tremendous influence the environment, the "nurture" aspect, has on a person and what he or she becomes. Ben, given one set of circumstances, becomes the leader of the others -- a ruthless Machiavellian character. Given another set of circumstances, he is a history teacher willing to sacrifice himself for the good of a student. Sawyer a con man one way -- given a different course of events, a cop. Obviously every other character, be it large or small, are different in the alternative timeline.

The bottom line: at birth you are not "fated" to one particular path. Rather, various influences, some good, some bad, help decide our future. No one is destined to be a ruthless leader, but becomes one through chance encounters or direct manipulations.

All this leads to a discussion of "nature" or what man is ignoring the "nurture" part of life -- the part of life, as discussed above, pushes us to being a cop or con man, a "good" or "bad" person. While "nurture" seems to heavily influence where we end up, does "nature" give us a head start? Are we born "good", "bad", or perhaps with a blank slate or tabula rasa? These of course are topics the real life John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and David Hume contemplated (as well as Hobbes, someone who you might consider thought we were born "bad").

I believe this question of "nature" is the question Jacob and the MIB are debating. Jacob seems to be trying to show that man, deep down and stripped of society, is "good". The MIB, on the other hand, is convinced that man is not. (Consider the first conversation between Jacob and the MIB we are shown at the end of last season). Or perhaps Jacob is only trying to show one "good" man to the MIB -- something he has not yet been able to accomplish. Perhaps the finding of a true "good" person proves that mankind as a whole is not a waste or doomed to some horrible fate.

Jacob stated this past episode to Richard that whatever anyone has done before the island does not matter. You could be a fugitive, or a doctor, a con man, or a lottery winner -- it does not matter. What matters is what you do once you get on the island. I think Jacob is trying to strip the "nurture" out of the person, and trying to find the true "nature" of the person -- and he is desperately looking for a "good" man (or woman). So far, no luck.

I think, at the end of Lost, he finds his "good" man (or woman). And that person may not be considered a "good" man off the island. But that person, stripped of influence, consequence and what might be considered "luck", is truly good.

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