Ah, Hope! what would life be, stripped of thy encouraging smiles, that teach us to look behind the dark clouds of today, for the golden beams that are to gild the morrow. – Susanna Moodie
THE SMOKE MONSTER IS THE PAST
Not just Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Hurley’s past, but the smoke monster is all of our pasts, filled with the dark, dirty, pain, hurt, and everything else we leave behind us in our lives. Think of the light in the cave like fresh clean gasoline that you pour into your car, but as your car uses the gas it spits out the tail pipe in a cloud of black smoke. The clean unused gas is the symbol of your future and the smoke is a symbol of your past and all the things you leave behind. Yet, if you backup your car you can run into your own exhaust i.e., your own smoke consumes you. And that’s what had happened on the island they had “backed up into their own exhaust” so to speak.
Therefore, the ancient Egyptians were the first to manipulate time, but in doing so they created the smoke monster which is really nothing more than a physical version of the past.
The light = time (the future, hope, etc.)
The smoke = the past (the exhaust of our lives)
The second side effect of the first instance of time travel was that the area around the source of light/time was no longer attached to it’s surroundings either geographically or in time. The entire area was “lifted” from it’s location and had become a “floating” island in time. Finding the island took more than just knowing geography but also took knowing how to determine where the island might be in time via reading other similar electromagnetic pockets of energy around the world. The ancient Egyptians secretly handed down the instructions for locating the island in time from generation to generation (eventually ending up in the hands of Eloise Hawking).
After the Egyptians’ initial discovery, it didn’t take long for them to figure out that the ability to manipulate time could be used in ways that might harm them. Yet that was only the beginning of their fears. The Egyptians determined that if time was placed in the wrong hands it could spell the end of reality as we know it. If someone were to completely dam up the light/time, the future could no longer proceed and we would all be stuck in time never able to advance to the next moment. Or if someone were able to allow all of time to flow too quickly all at once the future would evaporate into thin air and time would cease to exist and therefore we would all cease to exist. Again think of the hourglass, if you plug the hole, time stops.If you make the hole too large, time slips through so fast that no sand is left and time stops. Clearly time needs a protector!
Jacob wasn’t the first protector, and he wasn’t the last. Jacob was only one of who knows how many island/time protectors since the ancient Egyptians. Jacob, had been installed in a “Father Time” type of role in that he was a protector of time but not an eternal protector, he would be replaced when his own time was up just like Father Time is depicted as being replaced by a baby at the end of each year. No, I am not suggesting that Jacob was literally Father Time, what I am saying is Jacob was a type of Father Time (it’s symbolism) similar to the fact that Father Time himself was merely a type of Chronos who was the personification of time in ancient Greece. Chronos was depicted in Greco-Roman mosaics as a man turning the Zodiac Wheel (hmmm… turning a Zodiac wheel you say???). Either way, Jacob was there to protect time from humans that had come to manipulate it to their advantage and also to protect it from the past i.e., the smoke monster (more on that later).