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Known Constants

Desmond as Faraday's Constant

NOTE: There are other shifts pertinent to Desmond and Penny.

  • While in basic training in 1996, Desmond becomes unstuck in time and shifts to December 2004.
  • Desmond visits Faraday at Oxford College to talk about time travel. Faraday is convinced Desmond is involved in a prank until Desmond mentions a setting of 2.342, an oscillation of 11 Hertz, and the name of Eloise. During the visit, Faraday explains to Desmond that a being undergoing "time-transported consciousness" must identify a constant that exists in both periods of time travel to avoid death. Faraday notes in his journal that, "If anything goes wrong, Desmond Hume will be my constant."
  • At some unidentified point Faraday becomes unstuck. We do not necessarily see all of his shifts. Faraday suffers mental degradation as a result but does not develop an aneurysm because he understands what is happening to him.
  • Day 50 - Day 75: Faraday, in Essex, Massachusetts, watches the news about the supposed wreck of Oceanic 815. He shifts to the helicopter piloted by Lapidus.
  • Day 50 - Day 75: He bails out onto the Island, and later briefly meets Desmond on the beach. He shifts back to Essex.
  • Day 50 - Day 75: He is weeping, but does not tell his caretaker why he is weeping. At this point, Faraday becomes "re-stuck" in time and begins his recovery; his tears are tears of joy.
  • Dec 22, 2004: Desmond, with others, leaves the island in the helicopter at dusk for the freighter. Enroute he becomes unstuck in time and shifts to his basic training period.
  • Dec 24, 2004: Desmond arrives on the freighter at mid-day. He talks to Faraday by satellite phone. Faraday tells him that, when he shifts again into 1996 to visit him (Faraday) at Oxford and tell him the setting of 2.342, an oscillation of 11 Hertz, and the name of Eloise.
  • Dec 24, 2004: On the Island, Faraday looks at an entry in his journal reading, "If anything goes wrong, Desmond Hume will be my constant." This is not the first time he has looked at the entry, although it is the first time we see him do it.



The Constant

Each person leaving the Island and was exposed to radiation/magnetism will face a time distortion like that of Minkowski, Desmond, Brandon, and Daniel. Without a Constant they will have adverse side effects.

Sayid did not experience a time distortion because he did not suffer prolonged exposure to radiation like Desmond. For this reason not all the people on the island or attempting to leave the island will experience time distortion or require a constant.

A Constant may be a person in both the current time and the "jump-time" to who the time-traveler can connect.

  • The show's producers had always said that there was a reason characters appeared in each others flashbacks - a significant reason, it wasn't just accident. The writers have set it up so that the characters can be each other's constants.


    • However the constant has to be someone the individual cares deeply about. There actually aren't many flashbacks in which characters share an important relationship that would enable them to use each other as constants. It is more likely that the significant reason characters appear in each others flashbacks is that their destinies are intertwined and related to the Island, and that Jacob orchestrates their ultimate destinies in some way. This would fit with Kurt vonnegut's (author of Slaughterhouse-Five) idea of a "karass," a group of people who have an intertwined fate.
  • A constant is not necessarily a person but it is a person, place, or thing that enables a person "LOST" in time to find their bearing.
  • John Locke's constant is the Island.

The Numbers as a Constant

Because the Losties crashed on the Island through what is apparently some sort of "time membrane" around the Island, without following those certain coordinates, they are all experiencing time jumps, but do not realize it for one reason or another. We mistake these time jumps for "flashbacks," and think that they are characters remembering past events, but they are really experiencing conciousness-time jumps that we are not aware of. If this is true, and assuming that the Island somehow wants to keep them there, they would need some sort of constant to keep them from dying. An easy thing to do would be to use the Numbers, which pop up all over the Island. Perhaps the Island somehow scattered the numbers through the timeline, or at least make the characters see them in their lives, to subconciously keep them on the Island. This would explain why Desmond suddenly had more and more trouble getting back from his time jumps - because he had amnesia, and would not have remembered the numbers, logically nullifying their quality as Constants. However, because Desmond found his new Constant- Penelope- the connection was restored. This is logical, as the Losties couldn't have entered the Island without passing through the membrane, and explains the near-impossibly coincidental appearance of the numbers in ALL the characters' lives.

  • There's nothing to suggest the Losties' flashbacks are anything but narrative devices. They started as soon as they arrived on the island, not after prolonged exposure to radiation, they don't suffer confusion related to these flashbacks, the self in the flashback can not relate to the self in the present, they don't suffer the physical effects of being unstuck in time (ie., haemorrhaging) and even Desmond himself didn't experience time travel until after the hatch implosion.
  • Not all of the characters have been exposed to radiation, especially before the explosion of The Swan. Faraday said that only people who are exposed to high amounts of radiation are prone to this "Flashtime" phenomenon. There are many flashbacks before this explosion.
    • It could be supposed that without exposure to radiation, one experiences lucid flashbacks on the Island. This effect is amplified into full on jumping through time by the radiation.
  • Not all of the characters know the numbers well or care about them enough to use them as a constant. There are many characters who have no care or knowledge of what the numbers are. This could only be a strong constant for a few characters, namely Hurley, who struggled with the numbers both before and after arrival on the Island.

Faraday's Constant

4x02 FaradayAndTheLight

Daniel Faraday

  • Desmond may be Faraday's constant because of a causality loop--that is, if Faraday can never communicate with Desmond and have him bring the vital numbers back to make the time machine work, the time machine can never exist. So, even if Faraday has only met Desmond once (in 1996) he can safely assume he will meet Desmond again. Not only can Faraday rely on meeting Desmond again, the timeline may necessitate it, if Faraday never discovers the essential numbers himself.
    • The 1996 Daniel, and only Daniel, already knew the settings, especially "Eloise." Desmond telling him the numbers established Desmond's as a person with whom Daniel should talk.
    • Even if Faraday reverse engineers the numbers Desmond brought back from the future and understands why they are essential, they still do not actually exist--that is, they're existence is uncaused. Faraday's failing memory may explain this: forgetting the numbers sometime after his meeting with Desmond in 1996, Faraday redoubles his efforts and discovers the values himself and records them in his notebook, to be read to Desmond in 2004.
  • Daniel chose Desmond to be his constant because of the unique events surrounding their meeting.
    • Daniel is certain that if he ever experienced time-transported consciousness (TTC), he would be able to find his constant in Desmond because, not only his brush with TTC, but during that time, Desmond contacted Daniel directly and assisted with his related research; that would be something not soon forgotten.
      • Daniel has presented signs of memory issues, hence the test Charlotte was conducting with the playing cards. Seems fitting that he would rely on such a manner of failsafe regarding certain side-effects he is aware that he may experience.

The Island

4x03 IslandBirdsView

The Island

  • Because of the universes tendency to ‘course-correct’, becoming the constant of a time-traveler entangles an object or person with that time-traveler’s timeline. These entanglements increase the likely hood that constants will be drawn to the Island and of living constants becoming time-travelers themselves. For that reason it is important to not share knowledge about the Island.
  • If one is unconscious when entering or leaving (or at least when entering) the "barrier" surrounding the Island, one does not travel in time and does not need a constant. Note that Desmond was knocked unconscious on his boat before crashing on the Island, and so didn't time travel when he first arrived. Also note that the Others sedated Juliet for her journey to the Island--the purpose of this could be to prevent time-travel. Minkowski encountered time travel heading to the Island because he was conscious at the time. Also, during the crash of Flight 815, it seems as if almost all the passengers, with the exception of a few like Kate, were knocked unconscious during the mid-air break-up, thus explaining the seeming lack of time-travel experienced by any of them.
2x07 FindingJin

Jin being rescued by Cindy and Libby

  • However, Jin was in the middle of the ocean after the Kahana exploded, and he was unconscious yet still time-traveled back to when Danielle's team was on the beach. So consciousness doesn't seem to have anything to do with time-traveling.
    • Of course, as just pointed out, this theory does not explain why some passengers (Kate in particular) who were conscious during the entire crash, did not experience time-travel.
      • Kate probably hadn't had prolonged exposure to radiation, and neither had any of the others that were conscious during the crash.
  • It is also possible that the plane crashed on the bearing that is "safe".

Touching your OT constant in the FST shifts consciousness from FST to OT

  • FST Desmond touched Penny (his constant) and fainted. He then saw from the OT Desmond's point of view for a brief moment, before returning to his FST self, and regaining consciousness.

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