LOST Theories - DarkUFO

Ben and the writers have said, honestly, that the box is a metaphor for the island. Ben was the first one to name and apply an analogy to what has been happening on the island since season 1.

It's most obvious in The Moth, the same episode in which Locke acknowledges the same phenomenon. "What I know is that this island might just give you what you're looking for, but you have to give the island something." There is a trade off, a reciprocity between the island and the person on it. Further evidence of this reciprocity is Aaron's birth occurring simultaneously with Boone's death.

There have been multiple instances of the island rewarding redemptive behavior. As seen in The Moth, Charlie trades his drugs for what he wants, his guitar. Hurley realizes that he makes his own luck, he gets the Dharma Van to work. Ji Yeon is Jin and Sun's reward for reconciling their relationship. But Anthony Cooper is a special case. He wasn't Locke's reward, he was Sawyer's.

An episode or so before that, Sawyer is given a boatload of redemption when Hurley deceives him into being nice for a change. It's a turning point in his character arc, as after this point he is never again the same gun-stealing douchebag he was before it. Now you may be thinking, "But I thought we already got across that the Others are responsible for Anthony Cooper, not some stupid box." I stand by that, but this just goes to show how the island/box works.

Jacob said shortly before his death that "it takes a long time when you're weaving the thread." This principle applies to Jacob as well as it does the island. The island has been orchestrating events in the world for as long as it's been around. It is all seeing, all knowing. It is everywhere at all times. It controls who lives and who dies. It is, in essence, "god".

Now if I don't have you here I understand. I get it. I'm weary of "god" too. But Lost is a fictional work and any sort of religion is irrelevant. On Lost, God is the reconciliation of science and faith, and both are equally valid. Locke's second episode of Season 1 was called "Deus ex Machina" - "god is in the machine". In this very episode we see a very pronounced machine (the hatch) project a brilliant light (Light = God = Source) that saves two people simultaneously through sheer coincidence. But it's not coincidence. It's fate. It's the guiding hand of the island moving the castaways as if they were pawns on a chessboard. The island gave Locke the vision to find the plane, it then took away his ability to walk, so that Boone ("a sacrifice the island demanded" - gods are pretty big on sacrifice) would go up into the plane and set forth the necessary sequence of events that we see transpire on the show. The light shining out of the hatch was Locke's reward for serving up Boone on a silver platter.

Now, the appropriate retort is "wtf are you talking about, Desmond shined a light. Big deal." But big deals are subjective, and this was just the sign John Locke was looking for. At the time, there was no bigger deal to him. This is how the magic box works. It weaves the threads of reality into making sure everything is where it needs to be when it needs to be there. Think of the island as a loom of fate, each person a thread, interweaving, crossing paths, and eventually forming the big picture.

So yeah, the Others brought Anthony Cooper to the island, but they didn't realize that it was the island bringing Anthony Cooper to Sawyer. This seems to defy the show's stance on free will. Lost is very particular to not "choose" sides. I quote choose because that's where Lost's depiction of free will comes into play. Man is free to choose his moral bearing. He can make choices that are good or bad and only he is responsible for those choices. The Island/God can't intervene there. This is the only true, unencumbered free will. If the island can't control it, it can reward it.

There is a paradox of sorts here though. If the island can't control behavior, how would it know to ensure the sequence of events that led up to Anthony Cooper being captured. This is why it's a magic box and not a really smart box. If the will of the island exists at all times, it's experiencing time simultaneously. I think the best way to describe it is a loop.
We see the compass go around and around in time. Infinitely. Because of course correction some things will never be changed. The compass has no free will, it is inanimate. But as Faraday says, people are the variables. He's completely right about this, but that doesn't mean you can change the past. That's effectively like changing the recipe to god's soup. He's not having it. But Sawyer had a choice to be nice to those people at the camp. Hurley may have pushed him into it (just as the island, Jacob, or even MIB would push people into favorable outcomes) but it still counts.

If Sawyer does choose the "right" thing though, the island has it within its capacity to alter the past in such a way that it will have a favorable outcome for both itself and Sawyer. Thus, the magic box. It's a big cycle of reciprocity between two opposing forces. Like magnets. ICP was right, they are miracles.

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