Best LOST Theory

ABC’s LOST: the ultimate theory and explanation

DESMOND IN THE HATCH, JACOB ON THE ISLAND

The hatch is a symbol of the island as a whole….  Desmond (hoping for a replacement) was trapped in the hatch pushing the numbers 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42 to save the world similarly to how Jacob (hoping for a replacement) was “trapped” on the island pushing the numbers 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42 (metaphorically pushing their buttons) orchestrating the events that would ultimately save the world. Desmond was constantly battling time trying to hold off the past in the hatch just as Jacob had spent his entire life battling the past and that gets old after awhile. 🙂

Jacob wants a replacement as every Father Time before him and every Father Time after him wanted. Yet with Dharma and the “Others” constantly resetting time, Jacob needed to clean up some messes in time (namely the monster he helped to create). Using time to his own advantage Jacob begins to choose candidates to replace him. These candidates all had a flawed past. They all had reason to dislike the past which would work in Jacob’s favor because Jacob needed people that were willing to battle their past (figuratively and also in reality).

See me weaving the tapestry of time?
Look at me… I am weaving the tapestry of time.

Jacob orchestrates events that bring people to the island that might be good candidates to take the role as “Father Time” or protector of time, Jacob can see the candidates through the mirrors in the Lighthouse which reflects images from any point in time. Ultimately what Jacob wants is for somebody to uncork the island releasing all the pent up time and then to have somebody place the plug back in properly so that time can flow normally and the past (at least to that point) can be “let go”. In a way, Jacob is being merciful to the MIB by orchestrating events that allow the MIB to become mortal again and then be killed so that he is essentially released from his duties just as Jacob is being replaced by Jack and eventually Hurley. Why doesn’t Jacob do the job himself you might ask? Well, after seeing his brother get merged into the smoke monster he certainly didn’t want the same fate. Therefore Jacob sets into motion a series of events that will prepare Desmond to do the task for him.

In the sideways world the past and the future and in balance as indicated by Widmore's paintings.
In the sideways world the past and the future are in balance as indicated by Widmore’s paintings.

The future and the past need to be in balance for the fabric of reality to flow properly. Thinking of the future as the white rock on the scale and the past as the black rock on the scale they should be of equal weight keeping all things in check, yet our island was dramatically out of balance. It seems like the past, AKA the smoke monster, was winning the battle. He was tipping the balance of time into his favor and he knows it and demonstrates it by tossing the white rock in “Jacob’s cave” out into the ocean telling Sawyer this was an “inside joke”, this also explains why the water in the temple was going dark, as the future was in jeopardy of being consumed by the past.

Yet Jacob was not going to go down easy, Jacob drank the “time Kool-Aid” that Mother gave him and therefore Jacob has light/time inside him similar to the MIB being merged with the past. Therefore Jacob is the embodiment of the future and when he touches people he can pass a bit of that light/time on to them (when you are time… you can travel anywhere in time that you want). This is how Jacob’s powers worked, he could place aspects of time into other people. He couldn’t absolve Richard of his sins nor bring his wife back to life but he could make Richard not age because that was within Jacob’s powers. Jacob eventually places these powers fully into Jack, who in turn passes them on to Hurley. Jacob wanted to die and move on just as “Mother” wanted to die and move on. Yet Jacob needed to get his replacement set and also attempt to get the balance of time reset and in proper working order. Jacob ultimately achieved his goal with the help of all of our Losties but most notably Jack and Desmond by their flushing the past down the cosmic toilet and then resetting the hourglass so that time could flow in a balanced way as it was intended.

STARTING TO PUT IT ALL TOGETHER

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS FROM THE PAST

Don't be consumed by your past, just ask Mr. Eko, Nikki, and Paulo.
Don’t be consumed by your past, just ask Mr. Eko, Nikki, and Paulo.

Knowing that the smoke monster represents the past, it’s no wonder that the sounds that the smoke monster made were a mix of sounds from clocks (chains of winding a grandfather clock, a distorted ticking sound etc.) as well as sounds from the past of our LOST characters (Locke’s adding machine from work and Christian Shepard’s cash register purchase from his final drinks, etc.). Another sound that the smoke monster made was that of a receipt machine from a taxi cab which I believe symbolizes the moment you have to pay for your past.

This also explains why the smoke monster can only appear to people as things from their past: Jack’s dad, Kate’s horse, Ben’s mom, Richard’s wife (in the Black Rock), Mr. Eko’s brother, Yemi, etc…

In the Season 6 episode "The Substitute" Smokie asks Sawyer who he thinks he is, Sawyer says... "I don't care if you are the Ghost of Christmas past." Smokie smiles in amusement as if to say... you are very perceptive!
In the Season 6 episode “The Substitute” Smokie asks Sawyer who he thinks he is, Sawyer says… “I don’t care if you are the Ghost of Christmas past.” Flocke aka the Smoke Monster nods and smiles in amusement as if to say… you are very perceptive!

This brings us to a very interesting point about the smoke monster. Think back to the very first episodes of the show LOST, where in flashbacks we find Kate running from her past figuratively (as a fugitive) and also literally as she ran from the smoke monster (the past) when she, Jack, and Charlie hiked out to the front piece of the plane to find the transceiver. Charlie, on the other hand, ran from the smoke monster (the past) but was slipping and sliding and getting stuck in the mud similar to what his actual past was like as we saw in flashbacks with his drug addiction. Yet, in that scene they never once show Jack running from the smoke monster, instead a few episodes later (White Rabbit) we see Jack chasing after his father, not just in a real life flashback, but also on the island… Jack is chasing his past while Kate is running from it. You can look at all the characters from LOST and see the same types of connections when we view the smoke monster as the past the story on the island makes even more sense.

Here are just a few examples…

– Jack: chasing his past and refuses to let go (flashbacks and island action reveal the same story).
– Kate: Running from her past (flashbacks and island action reveal the same story).
– Sawyer: searching to kill a part of his past he ultimately finds out that his lust for revenge was misplaced (flashbacks and island action reveal the same story).
– Locke: manipulated by his past, his father manipulated him out of his kidney and the undercover cop manipulated him into revealing the pot growing operation in a flashback. Locke is also manipulated by the smoke-monster/the past on the island.
– Charlie: Made a mess of his past and now it haunts him, his dark past (drug addiction) keeps trying to make a mess of his life over and over again (flashbacks and island action reveal the same story).
– Mr. Eko: attempting to get redemption from his past but ultimately is consumed by his past (flashbacks and island action reveal the same story).
– Sayid: his past turned him into something he never wanted to be yet in the end he redeemed himself (flashbacks and island action reveal the same story).

I'm not judging you! (really I am not)
I’m not judging you! (no, really I am not)

THE FUTURE ISN’T ALWAYS BRIGHT AND THE PAST ISN’T ALWAYS DARK

One thing that many folks battle with regarding LOST is they mistakenly assume that the light is goodness and the smoke monster is pure evil which seems confusing because they can’t figure out why sometimes it seemed like Jacob was bad and the MIB wasn’t so bad. For instance, Jacob distracted Sayid which caused Nadia to be hit by a car and killed, how could the guardian of goodness do such a thing? Conversely the MIB seemed to have a legitimate beef regarding being trapped on the island, he was a man of his word, and even a caring father-figure for Claire, how could someone like that be pure evil??? The answer is this theory I am presenting in this blog post. After all… the past isn’t always dark, and the future isn’t always bright.

Furthermore, many folks (myself included) believed that the smoke monster was somehow judging people when it would confront them in the jungle, for instance if you played your DVD player frame by frame you could see images from their past flashing through the smoke monster when it would confront people on the island. Yet now knowing that the smoke monster WAS the past we can deduce that the smoke monster wasn’t judging our losties but instead our losties were merely seeing their own past within the cloud of smoke that was the past.

This, of course, also explains why when Mr. Eko looked into his past what he saw was very dark indeed and it eventually consumed him, yet when Locke looked into his past, what he saw was beautiful. Locke’s past wasn’t as dark as Mr. Eko’s was, but more importantly, the past was manipulating Locke because the MIB/Smoke Monster/The-Past saw a vulnerability in Locke which was his innocence, naivety, which led Locke to being manipulated so many times in his past. Therefore the past showed Locke what Locke wanted to see to gain his trust and begin to manipulate him.

FORBIDDEN PLANET – FORBIDDEN ISLAND

After watching all six seasons of LOST twice, I began to watch it a third time with my sister and her husband and early in season one I asked them what they thought the smoke monster was. My brother in-law, Gordon, said he thought the smoke monster was like their “id” similar to the monster in the classic 1956 movie Forbidden Planet, and he was more right than even I realized at the time. In the movie Forbidden Planet Dr. Morbius has unknowingly created the monster that is trying kill them all from his own conscience. The monster, who is kept away by a force-field fence can only be killed by killing Morbius because the monster is an extension of his conscience. Similarly, the smoke monster in LOST is an extension of our characters because the smoke monster is their past and therefore in a very real way they are battling an extension of themselves.

Where’s Robbie the Robot when you need him?? 🙂

Have a monster problem? Just put up a fence!
Have a monster problem? Just put up a fence! The id monster from Forbidden Planet is stopped in it’s tracks by the force-field fence similar to Dharma’s sonic fence.

Continue…

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

  1. 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”

    -Andy

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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?

  7. 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…

  8. 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.

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

  10. 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?

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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?

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

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

  15. 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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