LOST Theories - DarkUFO

More complex than just Purgatory by grapes9h5

So after getting over the initial shock of “The End” last night I began my long and still ongoing journey of thinking about what the hell just happened, and what it all means. The first thing that I began to ponder was how does what just happened relate to the central themes and philosophy's of the show. What does it say about freewill vs. fate or faith vs. science? Another thing I began to think on was whether the end revealed to us anything about the island. Did we reach any new level of enlightenment, or are we and our heroes still just in the dark about the why and how of whether any of what they died for really mattered? I may not have all the answers, but Im trying my best and will continue to do so until I can’t any more.

A lot of people are labeling the sideways world as “purgatory.” As someone who has loathed such ideas in Lost, I was angry to come to this realization. Im not religious, and I’ve always have been a man of science. If this show though has thought me anything, its that faith and science don’t have to be antagonistic to each other. The button was a scientific mechanism, but the act of pushing it without knowing the result was an act of faith. I’ll get back to what I think is the ultimate message of the show on this topic later in this theory, but for now I’ll focus on the church sequence. Though I agree that the sideways world is purgatory in the figurative sense, I don’t think it is a literal religious or spiritual place devoid of the sci-fi reasoning the show has had the entire series. Like many of the ultimate mysteries of Lost, both spiritual and science perspectives can work in sync to explain things. I believe the sideways world is the “imaginary time” written about in Faraday’s journals and equations. It was caused by a massive release of energy, possibly the incident, possibly something else. Its a world that doesn’t run parallel to the normal flow of time, but entirely separate. Lost’s approach to time travel has always been rooted in the block theory approach to time, which is the idea that everything, past, present, and future, happens simultaneously and that it is only our own perspective that gives it the linearity of an already determined past, a constantly changing present, and an unknown future. It may by 2004 in the sideways world, but where it syncs up with the original timeline is the point of infinity. Hurley could have lived for thousands of years after Jack died, but such a thing is irrelevant in a world that is truer to time itself, in that it has no perceptive. As Christian says, “there is no now.”

If you want to just think of it as purgatory in the strictly spiritual sense, and find my ideas a little difficult to understand or an unnecessary complication to something you find to be simple, than so be it. I do, however, have evidence to back up my idea. Aside from seeing the island underwater, we more importantly have what happened to Desmond when Widmore zapped him with the electromagnet; he saw the sideways world. To me, it seems more of a stretch to assume he saw the spiritual afterlife than if he simply flashed through time in the same way he did in “Flashes Before Your Eyes.” Speaking of that episode, all season long I’ve been looking at the episode as the major clue to what the sideways world was. In that episode Eloise explains to Desmond that even if you had foreknowledge of future events and could change the past somehow, “the universe has a way of course correcting itself.” This is similar to, but at the same time extremely different from the “whatever happened, happened” concept that is implicit to block time theory. The time travel we see in season 5 implies that there can be no paradoxes, and reinforces the notion of linear time as perspective and that depending on perspective your uncertain future is always someone else's predefined and determined past, and therefore all time is certain and unchangeable. What Faraday postulates though is that enough energy can disrupt the flow of time to the point that things can be changed, but not forever as it turns out. The energy behind whatever created the sideways world disrupted time in the same way Desmond attempted to change his future in “Flashes Before Your Eyes,” but ultimately what ever is meant to happen will happen. Desmond absorbed a lot of electro magnetism when he turned the failsafe key. Even after reliving that day in his life, “the flashes didn’t stop.” Desmond began seeing the death of Charlie, and was able to prevent it several times before accepting that the universe was going to keep trying to correct itself and his attempts were pointless. I would say the reason Desmond was able to change events was because of his body becoming a vessel of sorts for some of the energy once contained by the swan station. On this basis its possible that an even greater electromagnetic power could disrupt time to the point of creating another universe, but even in that new universe where things are different, ultimately the universe will find a way to correct itself. Our losties boarded 815 as strangers, just as they did in the original timeline. All of they’re live had been different up to this point either because of the lack of Jacob to influence them, random variables changing, or flat out orchestration by people in the know, like Eloise. With the island underwater and no button to push, the plane landed in LA, but the universe wasn’t just about to let all these people, who had in another life influenced and affected each other in a way that so profoundly changed them, go on never connecting in a way comparable to had they crashed on the island. As we saw in the first nine flash sideways stories, these people were meeting and connecting even without the influence of the island.

So what is the ultimate conclusion to the universe trying to correct itself, “moving on.” In the original timeline, everyone died at some point, just as all people do. The sideways universe is sustained by people accepting it as a reality, but its existence is what Faraday labeled in his equation as “imaginary time.” It’s less of a physical universe and more of a place were the consciousness travels after death, but through the recognition of a constant, that consciousness can reawaken and thus choose to leave. Think back to the episode “The Constant,” Desmond’s consciousness returned to the present by connecting with Penny. He began the telephone call with his 1996 mind in his 2004 body, but then it faded and it was clear it was his 2004 self talking. The sideways Losties, with help from Desmond who was already awakened by his constant, Penny, all began to reconnect and awaken. When awakened however, it became clear that they were dead, and that they no longer needed another life. They had already lived another one, and now that they have connected they could leave. This had to be a choice.

What I think of the ending in terms of the themes of the show is based around our Losties ultimate ability to make this choice, and Ben’s decision not to make it yet. First let’s think back to Desmond and Charlie in season 3. I earlier said that Desmond’s attempts to change Charlie’s fate where pointless because no matter what the universe was going to keep trying to restore balance by killing him. Indeed Charlie did die in a way that Desmond had foresaw, but that’s not what is important. Charlie choose to die in the end. He could have continued to live on with Desmond’s aide, but he choose to die to save his friends. At the same time, if Desmond never “choose” to save Charlie the few times he did prior to his death, Charlie would have never even been given that choice. In fact, the entire time loop of the show would have likely not happened at all had Desmond and Charlie had not made those decisions. In the same way, the sideways universe was always going to try to correct itself by having our Losties meet, but it wasn’t until Desmond chose to step in that they all found each others constants. Even then though, they still had a choice to stay if they wanted to. The ultimate answer to the question of fate vs. free will then I think is that the only thing that is truly determined of predestined is that we all die at some point, but even in our own death, it is our choices that lead us there, and even in our death we get to choose to either live alone or “move on” together.

This brings me back to the island, where indeed we witnessed just how our characters fates were ultimately what they chose. The ultimate test of science versus faith came for not just our characters but for us as an audience. Here our characters were making choices to save the island even though they, even less so than us, still knew nothing of the consequences of what may or may not happen should they choose not to. What happens if MIB leaves the island? Why is it so bad if the island sinks or the light goes out? What are the stakes? Its bizarre watching such an intense climax when you have no idea why the climax even needs to happen, but that’s the point, we have to put our faith in what is being done needs to be done. Its the button all over again, but this time its even more about faith. With the button we eventually saw what would happen if the button failed to be pressed and we had the fail safe to not only save the day, but to also end the cycle of the button even needing to be pushed. I expected something similar to happen here but it was quite different. So the island began to sink, but all Jack really had to do was but the plug right back in. Ironically it was only because the plug was pulled out that MIB lost his powers and could be killed. Jack put back in the plug, but only after passing his job onto Hurley, who then seemingly continued to push the button aka protect the island. Desmond was the catalyst that allowed all this to happen, but he was seemingly not a “fail-safe.” What is important though is that Jack became a man of faith not by believing that his destiny was to be the protector of the island, but by making a choice on faith that he had a purpose, that the island was important, that essentially his whole life had meaning and importance beyond coincidence by returning to the heart of the island and plugging the hole. We’ll never know what the stake really were, but we do know without a doubt that Jack made a choice that he believes on his life was worth making.

When you put both the on island events and the sideway ones together as is done by the editing of the show, I think the conclusion reached is something truly profound. I think back to the climax of Orientation. Locke tells Jack he has to be the one to push the button, to which Jack refuses. Locke asks why Jack finds it so hard to believe, to which Jack reverses the question asking him why its so easy for him. Locke then shouts “its never been easy!” He then cries and says, “I can’t do it this alone, I don’t want to.” This moment stems back even further to Helen asking Locke to take a “leap of faith” by letting go of his father, but that he doesn’t have to do it alone, that she is there to help him “let go.” Jack’s catch phrase has always been “live together or die alone,” but I was never sure how that tied into what I felt where the bigger philosophies of the show like fate vs. freewill. Now its clear that they are really one in the same. True faith is accepting that you are not alone, even in death, and that the ultimate choice we make in life is whether or not we will believe that when it matters most, when we are at our loneliest.

So then does it really matter what the island was or what danger the smoke monster really presented? The short answer is no it doesn’t, but I don’t think the writers just left us with nothing. The revelation about the sideways, especially if you like me believe that it was a lot more scientifically and thematically complex than just a purgatory story or a Six Sense ripoff. Think about the relationship already established between the island and the dead. The whispers, Hurley and Miles’s abilities, the Smoke Monster’s ability to take on the forms and memories of the dead. Speaking of Smokey, the creature was born from the Heart of the Island, which is also a electromagnetic pocket, and we know that Smokey itself has electric properties and makes mechanical noises. The Heart od the Island and Smokey also have a relation to water and light. In “Across the Sea,” the still human Man In Black speaks of building a machine to channel the water and the light. How does he plan to do this? By using the Donkey Wheel. What happens when you turn the Frozen Donkey Wheel that channels the water with the light? You move the island, and yourself, through space and time. Also remember what mother says about the Heart of the Island, its “life, death, and rebirth.” She also says that “if it goes out here,it goes out everywhere.” So if we put all this together we have what appears to be a clear link between electromagnetism, the flow of water through a circulatory system through out the island, volcanic activity, time space manipulation, consciousness travel, and the souls of the dead. What if the island is the nexus point of a network that not only goes through out the planet, but through out the time and space continuum. The water flows throughout the world under the ground and keeps the electromagnetic pockets of the world all connected to the main one at the heart of the island to keep not only the volcanic activity of the planet in check, but also the flow of time itself. Disrupting these pockets bends time. The network also carries with it the consciousness, or souls, or all those who have died back to the Heart of the Island, where they become part of this larger collective consciousness, a constant presence through out all of time. If the the cork is unplugged, the volcanos awaken, and the water stops flowing. Without the water flowing trough the pockets, the flow of consciousness through out time stops. Also, the smoke monster can’t leave the island because it is part of the light, and it carries with it a part of the consciousness that flows through the island.

In the end though I think its more important that our heroes choose to believe and stopped it from happening without knowledge of what may happen, but I do think its important to understand what sideways is in relation to the island and the concept of “letting go” or “moving on.” What if when either the cork was briefly unplugged, or when jughead exploded in the swan pocket, the temporary disrupt in the flow of souls and time lead to the existence of the imaginary plain at the infinity point of time aka the sideways world. “Moving on” then, if what I also theorized were true, could be returning to the Heart of the Island, were all souls are supposed to go. This could be as simple as the Losties all just being with their constants and mentally checking themselves out, or that light at the door could be more literal. Remember that the church they are at is also the one with the lamp post station which is another pocket.

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