LOST Theories - DarkUFO

"The End", a truly epic series finale if ever there was one, pulled back the curtain on what LOST really was, I firmly believe, all about from the very beginning: Jack's reaction and series of responses to his physical death fueled by a pervasive guilt over his perceived role in father Christian's demise, a resolution foreshadowed by the appearance of An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge, a book which details the hallucinogenic reverie of a Civil War soldier about to die, in the Season 2 episode "The Long Con".

Managing the biological imperative for survival, whether it be the body or ego - one's individual essence or most defining aspects - is what caused complex religious traditions to emerge as humans became ostensibly more civilized, acquired a more sophisticated sense of their place in Earth, and then Heaven's, hierarchy. Religion was a fearful reaction to the fear-based excesses of animalistic impulses and, ironically enough, demonstrated a distinct lack of faith, at least the non-conditional variety. That instinct to survive above all else is the ultimate expression of a desire to maintain control over one's environment. And as all LOST fans know, there really was no bigger control freak amongst the passengers of Oceanic Flight 815 than Jack Shepard. When that instinct is effectively manipulated in the scared, the faithless, the spiritually vulnerable, they can be made to do almost anything, as Michael quickly learned about himself. Likewise the implied threat of death, and by acting in uninformed anger, Jacob made MiB/Death larger than life and a WHOLE lot more terrifying, just as did certain religious denominations in the past.

Desperate and reaching further for another chance at life - more liberated from the constraints of his limited physical reality - than ever before, Jack, as though the eagle referenced by his tattoos (the original poem by Mao Zedong is virtually a full narrative of LOST) spread his mind's wings and reflexively created what would be a suitable destination for the victims of a horrific plane crash at sea: a verdant, surprisingly expansive island where he and his fellow travelers, only too willing to defer to him as the de facto 'leader', could rest and figuratively catch their breath before deciding what to do next with themselves.

This island, with its very protracted passage of time, would never be found on any map because it never DID exist in the physical world. That's not to say that the survivors' EXPERIENCES while part of this collective hallucination weren't real, but it's open to conjecture as to which members of the supporting cast were once alive, or from where their souls really originated, what lives they came. Was there ever a DHARMA Initiative, or a Ben Linus, a Charles Widmore, a Dave or Richard Alpert? None of them was, for whatever reason, in the church group. Could they have been but mere contrivances for Jack and his group's life/soul lessons? Or were they somehow overlooked on the same flight? Possibly casualties from a previous time or traumatic event? I do lean strongly toward the first explanation as the Island was ultimately revealed to be as much. Interestingly, Desmond makes a point of reiterating in the finale that he WAS, indeed, on Flight 815 and arrived at the Island along with everyone else, rather than by a
lone, grounded sailboat.

So as to more fully understand the actual roles of various characters (despite whether or not they were on Oceanic 815) we must begin with the one which, earliest on, seemed to have the most ability to control how he experienced his existence: Desmond. He and Jack had an important, if not necessarily profound, relationship from their encounter at Olympic Stadium after Jack had remedied Sarah's paralysis and I would now submit that those underground settings, such as the Pearl, the Swan, alluded to Jack's unenlightened subconscious, places which had yet to be dug out for nuggets of understanding (or pearls of wisdom) - hence the first person he sees in The Swan is, again, Desmond, reminding him why all this is happening, why Jack has gone to such great lengths - "To save the world, brotha!" Or, more accurately, to save JACK's world as he's known it - and that of those apparent survivors for whom he's now taken on responsibility. As for the Pearl, it may serve as an observation post for HIM to monitor - and mitigate - this circle of soul's more Pavlovian responses, possibly recognize them in himself.....

And when the Island appears underwater in "LA X", it isn't PHYSICALLY submerged, but rather, lurking in the great depths of everybody's subconscious who is a part of the 'Flash Sideways' experience, coloring to a lesser extent what occurs there as evidenced by Jack's pesky neck wound, the Island memories determined to bleed through. In retrospect, from the start of Season 6 and perhaps even back to the midway point of Season 5, Jack shows unmistakable signs of getting weary from his efforts to forestall death, which never WAS the enemy - only his perception of it, which is why things are never serene on the Island for long. The war between Jack's science and faith (John Locke simultaneously representing someone and something he struggles to trust implicitly, Locke's doubts about faith mirroring Jack's) is instantly dispatched there and the forces to wage it pressed into service, such as DHARMA and the Others/Hostiles. Even Jacob and MiB are there as expressions of his conflicted views; 'Jack' is, of course, a casual form of both 'John' and 'Jacob' so, in a sense, Locke's appearance being assumed by the Man in Black is very fitting, since it always was John counseling Jack to 'let go' and believe as had Christian. Jacob revealed himself to be a flawed character in that, while it's laudable he does believe in the goodness of humanity, he's extensively manipulated it and gone to unbelievable lengths (on Jack's behalf) to thwart Death - taking the form of Smokey/MiB, who naturally wants to be free of Jack's defensive construct and get on with its destiny, its nature - whisking souls away to the afterlife - and what better form to take for that than a whirling cloud of black smoke?

One very big question lingers: why exactly was it that the Monster was rendered powerless when Desmond removed the stone stalagtite cork from the volcanic heart of the Island? Simple: if EVERYTHING Island-related was merely figments of Jack's hyperstimulated imagination, then it must only follow that would also be true of Flocke (John having physically died long before, in which case his spectral motives would've been previously called into question - and so they were, on numerous occasions throughout the 5 preceding seasons by almost everyone.....again, Jack is unable to implicitly trust Locke for reasons already stated).

Just as the viewer learned that Jacob's rules were quite arbitrary, so too was the Island and Jack's rules governing it; he could do anything he wanted with the 'magic box' if it served his purpose of rationalizing physical death. So if the Cork was inserted - again, by Jack's higher consciousness, his superego - to regulate the amount of light - understanding - emitted by means of containing nature expressed in its most primeval form (volcanic threat) Desmond can ONLY remove it when Jack has reconciled his inevitable fate, surrenders to his destiny - after all, Jacob was created as a more noble proxy by the gifted surgeon who lacked faith in, and forgiveness for, himself.

But in a nod to those of us who feel it's being true to ourselves by 'not going into that good night quietly', Jack finds his flagging last ounces of will to stem Nature long enough for Kate, Sawyer, Miles, Richard, Claire and Frank to soar above the clutches of Death and, while they never were physically alive, their escape is symbolic of that never-completely-quelled instinct to resist such a seeming end all the same. As he sees Ajira 316 overhead, Jack Shepard can finally let go and move on to a truly better place with a clear, informed conscience

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