Best LOST Theory

ABC’s LOST: the ultimate theory and explanation


As time passes, more and more people come to the island via instructions handed down from the ancient Egyptians and eventually we end up with a group of people called the Dharma Initiative. These folks come to the island to do testing and experiments (based on external LOST information we might conclude that they have come to the island because they believe the earth is coming to an end and they might be able to use the power of the island to stop the series of events that will end the earth). We also see that in the Dharma school house the children are being taught how to read Egyptian hieroglyphics therefore there is clearly a connection between what is currently happening on the island with what had happened originally with the Egyptians.

Kid, your brain is about the size of a Polar Bear brain. Does me asking you that make you nervous?
Kid, your brain is about the size of a Polar Bear brain. Does my asking you that make you nervous?

The Dharma Initiative is somewhat sophisticated. After all, in the 1970’s we were able to successfully put a man on the moon, along with so many other important inventions. Dharma started experimenting with time on the island. They started channeling the light/time/water which manipulated time. They most likely figured out quickly that if you are not careful with how you move through time you can hemorrhage your brain and die (the worst nose bleed ever!). Therefore, they did a lot of testing, and found that it was most effective to test animals that were similar in size to humans. But even more importantly, they needed a mammal with a brain that was a similar size to a human brain. Therefore, the Dharma Initiative brought Polar Bears to the island for testing purposes. One of the side effects to time travel (at least near the Orchid Station) is when the traveler is ejected out of the time worm- hole and transported to the Tunisian desert, which clearly had happened to at least one poor Polar Bear that Charlotte found in the episode “Confirmed Dead”.



Or so they think. Just as every person who had came before them, the Dharma folks eventually lose their interest in saving the world and find out that they themselves can benefit from the golden cave of light and time. They realize that by continually traveling back in time they can effectively live forever! They perfect the process and find that to have the least amount of adverse side effects from the time travel they will reset time about every two hours, or 108 minutes to be precise. There is one problem with their plan however, they can’t have the time resetting device too near their own living quarters because it turns out that if you travel in time backwards you can never get to the future to travel in time again (it’s a paradox). In other words… if they are pushing the button themselves their entire life is like a skipping record and they can never live normally. So, they decide to create the button pushing device far away from their living quarters in a hatch that they seclude as to separate them as far as possible from their button-pushing guinea pigs. The hatch was built near another pocket of electromagnetism (time) and these two pockets of magnetism acted like wormholes to each other, but the important part was that the button would reset time near the other wormhole which was by the orchid station and therefore the Dharma folks could live forever (theoretically).

Eventually, the “Others” kill off the Dharma folks but continue to use the time traveling scheme to their advantage as Ben knows the drill and is able to live a healthy “normal” life in Dharmaville with his fake girlfriend Juliette and his fake daughter Alex.

Another problem with the Dharma plan to continually reset time is that time is building up all around it. Imagine our water clock with a partially plugged time hole, the pressure behind it keeps increasing because time wants to happen! And when that button isn’t pushed, time gushes through like a raging river pulling everything with it as it goes. Keeping time steady is like a balancing act, you can’t allow too much to escape, but you also can’t allow too much to be held back and while Dharma had perfected the balancing act to some extent there were “incidents” that happened along the way.

Which is why each time the button isn’t pressed the island rushes through time trying to “catch up” with the ever passing moment. When Desmond fails to press the button on September 22, 2004, which brought down flight 815, it also caused Dharmaville to lose some of the time they had made for themselves and their bodies feel the wrath of time as Ben develops the cancer on his spine which he had been avoiding via time travel.

Nothing is gonna happen John.
Nothing is gonna happen John, well besides a burst of time of course.

Another interesting example of this is in season 2 in the episode Maternity Leave Claire is having flashbacks when she was abducted by Ethan and the “Other’s” and is brought to what looks like a fully functioning, modern, clean hospital station underground. They are treating her with “medicine” and are preparing to “take” her baby from her. She later escapes with the help of Rousseau. In that same episode Rousseau and Kate take Claire to the Dharma medical facility in hopes of finding the “medicine” that Ethan was given Claire and the baby but this time when they find the medical station is appears to be abandoned and shows the effects of many months (possibly years) of being vacant. So how is it that a place like that can look so old and run down in such a short amount of time? The answer is found in the episode One of Them which was aired directly prior to Maternity Leave. In One of them, Sayid is in the hatch trying to get the truth from Ben, AKA Henry Gale, and he has locked himself in the armory so that he can torture Ben. Jack is mad that Locke has lied to him to allow Sayid to torture Ben so Jack and Locke start to tussle.

My how time flies when you are fighting in the hatch.
My how time flies when you are fighting in the hatch.

During this struggle, the hatch timer runs out and the red hieroglyphics appear and things start to shake (time is starting to rush to the present). After just a couple moments Jack allows Locke to enter the numbers and the clock is reset to 108. Yet in just that short amount of time that the clock was at zero I believe several months, or possibly a couple years rushed by which explains why the medical station seemed to age so dramatically in just a short amount of time.

440 thoughts on “ABC’s LOST: the ultimate theory and explanation”

  1. Was a little sceptic at first, but this is really a page turning theory! Every page had me more and more convinced! This theory also explains why something happened to pregnancies after the Incident. The incident is the who-knows-how-manieth time someone tried to manipulate time. The symbiotic relationship between mother and child is disrupted, because the timelines of both people don’t match up, since both parties observe time differently. Same with Ben, he was born early so he could arrive on the island in time.

  2. Hey Eric, just binged watched all 6 seasons in a few days. Kind of like it’s own island drawing you in. BTW, really moved by the finale.

    Thanks for sharing your theory. It was well thought out and I enjoyed reading. You are a bright person. I do want to share an observation after reading your blog.

    For me and what helped with my understanding, was that it was really more about mythology, spirituality, and psychology more so than physics or the rational condition. Ultimately what really mattered in the end (or the “moving on”) was the experiences that they all had and their lives reconvening again and again to a single meeting point before moving on to the next destination. Meaning every detail / conflict / answer was no longer that “important”.

    The questions that the show took on the answer are ones that humanity have pondered on since the beginning of “time :)”.
    I like this definition: “A myth is a story that has significance to a culture (or species), a story that addresses fundamental and difficult questions that human beings ask: who and what am I, where did I come from, why am I here, how should I live, what is the right thing to do, what is the universe, how did it all begin? ”
    So IMO, it is the language of Mythology that can bring understanding to that which is difficult to understand …and articulate. If you dig deeper into Mythology and Comparative Mythology it goes much further into the psyche than the Greek Gods taken at face value or what was required learning in school.

    The theme of Science vs Spirituality for lack of a better word for the latter is used throughout the show. Especially with Jack.
    Where if faced with the decision of seeing what is in front of him, he always chose the empirical answer. Coincidence over Fate. Science over Spirit. Comfort zone over …

    And we see again and again Jack struggle and fight, refusing to look beyond the materialism. This frame of mind is necessary I believe but it is also a barrier. So it is not that we are not capable of seeing. It is more of a “holding on” to the common “reality”. Through six seasons, we see Jack and everyone else for that matter holding on. We kept hearing the “let go” advice. So it is the material theories and current belief system that keeps that world that they were all holding on to together. Keeping it in existence. They were always looking for safety (in a weird way). Safe was the attachment. What they thought they knew was the attachment. Like the idea of “I know what I saw” vs the idea that we have a grasp of the world we live in. This holds up the structure of our model of the universe (meaning your own life). They all went through this.

    It is not until they let go with Jack being the final one to do so, that they see the Reality. Once they let go, nothing else was that important any more. Just memories with one another without the sting and the peace and excitement about what comes next. The island was no longer the main focus nor Jacob, etc. Jack finally let go…of everything…including the island.

    I remember in the finale and many times during the show, especially in the series finale this paraphrase. “Do you understand now?” A few of them said it to get the other to wake up. And the understanding happened once they let go of all of their theories and the montage of their experiences played in their mind’s eye. Quite beautiful.

    So let go Eric! Just kidding! This is theory too btw ha. Well not necessary a theory but an observation that could be off or not.

    Anyways, thanks again for the contribution to the discussion about this great series and keeping the fascination with the show going.

    Oh yeah, the Light was Consciousness. The Primary Consciousness, then the Collective Consciousness. All emanating from a metaphorical, mythical Source.

    “Aye, See ya in tha next life Brutha”


  3. I really like your theory, it just has one minor problem, Ben’s cancer was diagnosed two days prior to the Desmond mistake and the plane crashing, as he says ” two days after getting a mortal tumor, a spine surgeon falls from the sky”.

    And also the medical station didnt get old in seconds, it was just a fake station, and the real one ( the one Claire remember) was hidden behind some mechanism Juliet later reveals.

  4. 1st time Lost watcher here. I LOVE THIS SHOW! I remember how many people were upset over the season Finale when it originally aired. I don’t get why. I think it would have been insulting to true Lost Fans if everything was Spelled out the way many people seemed to have wanted. Maybe it felt different if you watched it for six yrs vs. 1 week. IDK. Anyway, about this theory…

    Before reading this mind blowing analysis, I equated the island to purgatory as many others do. I thought the light represented some type of source of power/strength for the world to “run” on. Still had many things I didn’t understand, such as what the flash sideways really was, and what really happened when Locke saw the hieroglyphics begin to show in the hatch.

    Boy I must say your theory is amazing! Fills in all the blanks. Makes EVERYTHING make SO much sense. I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts in such a brilliantly detailed way. After I watched the series I’ve read several theories and yours is by far the best. Written like you created the show and were a writer for Lost yourself. Very good work!

  5. You are an extremely smart person. Kudos! Your article makes so much sense. Looks like it had to spelt out for the rest of us :p

  6. Thanks for your work. It is difficult to try to explain the truth about a fictional situation because there are no actual objective facts to refer to. You cannot definitively prove a claim about a fictional world. This reminds me of a book written by a professor a couple of years ago about the Sherlock Holmes novel The Hound of the Baskervilles. The author tries to show that the real killer is not the one revealed in the novel; but the real culprit is a different character. This kind of approach seems to remove the story’s author. You have to think that it doesn’t really matter what the author intended. The work of fiction becomes an independent object of its own. that can be interpreted in many ways. None of these ways has to be the absolute truth. I doubt anyone can ever say that they have the final, certain truth about Lost but it’s fun to speculate.

  7. Great theory, thank you for this. There is still one thing that i do not understand in season 6 that keeps bugging me. MIB has found his loophole somehow. What is this loophole? Why does he have to take on locke’s form? Why does he have to kill all candidates? Why is this all necessary for him to leave the island? It seems so illogical to me, i just cant see the logic of it all. Does anyone have any idea?

  8. Loved this theory, it connects a lot of missing dots and solves a neat puzzle. However, there are still many questions left unanswered like why did the MIB take Locke’s form? Why did it manipulate Claire into staying? What was Richard’s final purpose (he didn’t do a very good job on the one that was supposedly assigned to him)? Why does the MIB not chase certain characters like Hurley, Desmond, Jin and Sun…? They all had troublesome pasts. What meaningful thing happened when the button was not pushed (I know what you said, but there’s gotta be something more relevant other than simply catching up on time)? Why do only some characters have “superpowers”? And John, the enigm I will never understand… And maaaany more.
    Which makes it all more fun 😉 I once read a comment from a mystey novel that said that the answering of a few questions only leads to more questions. Some are better left unanswered, which is great!! Anyway congrats, hope there can be some debate on the subject…

  9. Very thoughtful and beautiful theory. Watching Season 6 it gives me much to think about. Even if the producers didn’t have your exact idea in mind, they certainly played with it in various forms.

    In an interview early in season 6 they said they were interested in showing us both what had happened if Juliet’s actions worked and didn’t work. But remember they are writers, and really played with this idea throughout the season.

    I get a lot of meta out of the ending because I think we have to let go and move on in time just as the Losties do. Ironically, the beauty of the work that is LOST makes it precious in the eyes of fans, and make LOST itself very hard to let go.

  10. Oh my god! This makes so much sense! Just watching it all for the 2nd time and it all clicks now! Thanks!!!

  11. This is pretty strong work, Eric, thanks for this. I have one immediate question (and possibly more to follow. I just finished watching the series for the first time last night):

    If the very first attempt by the Egyptians to manipulate the flow of time from the light cave resulted in its being made into an island that’s untethered to the rest of the universe spatially and temporally, it seems like there’d be no real reason for it to have to have a “protector.” Right? Wouldn’t this mean that any attempts to use the cave to change “our” reality only result in changes occurring on the island itself? Seems like it. I’ll offer the fact that Widmore’s freighter was able to anchor a relatively small distance offshore and avoid the anomalies as one example.

    In this sense, the cave wouldn’t control the flow of time everywhere, it would be dependent on it until separated from it. Manipulating it doesn’t alter the universe, it just separates the cave from the rest of space-time.

    It’s kind of a tough way to think about the story, because from that point on, the rest of the story of the island, including all the pain and suffering endured by the Oceanic 815 survivors, boils down to an incorrect assumption by paranoid and murderous Ancient Times CJ Craig. And it would mean that Jack did, in fact, die for nothing?

  12. Jennifer, Tunisia was a remote place in relation to the characters in the story. Remote as in… distant, faraway, far, etc. Heck, Canada was remote in relation to the Losties. Furthermore in a very real way all of humanity was remote in relation to our characters as they had become disjointed from the normal existence that the rest of us enjoy.

    That being said… if this is the worst criticism of my article then I am happy.

    Thanks for taking the time to read it.

  13. Only an American would say that Tunisia is a remote place! It’s on the north coast of the continent of Africa, what the hell is remote about that? The Cook Islands are remote, not Tunisia! Sorry dude, it’s hard to respect your opinion on Lost after you’ve said such an ignorant geographical thing.

  14. I’m still lost, I’m very confused about the end of the show. It showed them returning back from that flight living very different lives, so all that was not real? Or was that real but Desmond had to gather all the people together so they could let go as they said in the show to move on because they all died?

  15. Luv’d it! Seeing it again next week for 2nd round 1 – 6 Seasons!

    By the way, what happen with the dog, Vincent?

  16. ChelD asked “why does the SmokeMonster/MIB want to leave the island so badly?”

    Been a very long time since I’ve seen the show, but I think he simply wanted freedom for its own sake. He was imprisoned on the island by the will of others or the “will” of the mysterious island itself. He was rebelling. Lost was pretty much a mish-mash of a bunch of different religions or religious ideas thrown into a blender. One could see MIB as a fallen angel type figure rebelling against the rules of God, or rebelling against Nature itself. Or, very much like the Force from Star Wars, both good and evil, light and darkness, have their place. But there must be balance.

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