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Sri Lanka Video
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The Others and DHARMA
The Sri Lanka Video may provide clues of the nature of the Others. The theories broadly fall into the categories that the Others: 1) are part of the DHARMA Initiative, 2) were part of the DHARMA Initiative, but are no longer, or 3) are a different group from the DHARMA Initiative. Also the first two theories suggest that the villages mentioned in the second half of the video will be found on the Island; these may be related to the four-toed statue.
For example the first half of the film may be an orientation film for the Others, providing training for a life in the jungle at a secret facility that may be an island. This theory suggests that the audience in the second half may be include the Others, and some fans claim that the Benjamin Linus is briefly visible. This view is complementary to the theory that Cindy, who was a flight attendant on Flight 815, was a member of the DHARMA. As for the purpose of the Others, Mittelwerk tells his group they must keep up a cover story; the Others are already known to have a type of cover story, because of the fake beard and fake village. In this view, the Others may be Mittelwerk's damage control team to get DHARMA's mission back on track. His words, "we have done our level best and yet," and "it is time for radical action," both imply that success has not been achieved and damage control is necessary. He also uses wording to indicate that he believes he has good intentions, paralleling the frequent use of the word "Good" by the Others, lending support to theory that the Others are part of Mittelwerk's group.
Alternatively, the orientation film may not be intended for the Others. In contrast, Mittelwerk's team may be being sent to respond to the Others, who may have originally been part of the DHARMA Initiative, but have since become an independent group that has taken actions viewed as "radical." The similarity of Mittelwerk's speech to the Others believing they are "good people" also supports the notion that they were formerly part of the DHARMA Initiative.
However all theories claiming the video is in any way directly related to the Others is subject to uncertainties in the timeline because the producers of Lost have stated that time on the Island may not pass normally. Therefore it is unclear when the video was created in relation to the known storyline on the Island, despite the facts that Flight 815 crashed in 2004, while Rachel Blake's adventures occur 2 years later, in 2006. It is plausible that although only a few months have passed on the Island's timeframe, it may be 2006 in "the real world."
These theories are further confounded with the possibility of a Milgram experiment at various levels, in other words, an intentional effort by the investigators to attempt to cause the subject to act against his or her normal conscience. Such a possibility is plausible in light of the discovery of the deceptive nature of the Pearl and Swan Stations, and the Pneumatic Tube Dump. In other words, Mittelwerk's team may be being evaluated as they are being duped to spread a deadly virus as part of a larger experiment.
The significance of the two unknown villages, which have been transcribed here as "Filan" and "Vetul-Milani," have been the subject of fan theories. The theories may be broadly separated into two categories, those that place the villages on the Island, and those that do not.
The "on-island" theories claim that the villagers are an undiscovered (or extinct) population on a remote part of the Island, or even compose some members of the Others. In support of the "on-island" theory are the quarantine warning on the Swan hatch interior, and the existence of the four-toed statue which suggests a population of people separate from the Others. However the main counterevidence to this theory is that no macaques have been observed on the Island, which suggest either that the villages are elsewhere, or that the macaques have all perished, or have been unencountered for other reasons.
The "off-island" theories attempt to match the rough pronunciation of the villages' names audible on the soundtrack to real world counterparts. For example, "Filan" may be a village in the Udaipur District of India named Philan. There is also a village named Vallan on Punkudutivu Island off the north-western coast of Sri Lanka. Likewise, the second village of "Vetul-Milani" may also have some alternate phonetic transcriptions, such as "Betul-Ilani", "Beatle-Alahni", "Vetuhl-Ahlani", etc. There is no concrete evidence in support of these real world locations, with the possible exception of Sri Lanka's Vallan, because of information gleaned from the Lost Experience alternate reality tie-in game: Hidden within the map of Sri Lanka in the package received by Rachel Blake from Darla, there exists an expanded detail map showing the north-western region of Sri Lanka (Daladagama), where Vallan is located.
Conspiracy of fear
Some fan theories claim the DHARMA Initiative is an effort to save mankind by intentionally causing harm to create an aura of fear. For example the DHARMA Initiative may be an intervention sponsored by powerful corporate executives, bypassing the efforts of state governments or the UN, to create a biological weapon to prevent mankind from destroying itself by inducing control via fear.
Other fictional works have similar storylines and may have served as inspiration for the Sri Lanka Video, for example Watchmen, The Constant Gardener, Equilibrium, and V for Vendetta:
- Watchmen: Convinced that the world is coming to an end because of growing tensions between the superpowers, one character intentionally engineers a mass tragedy that kills or disables millions of people in New York City in order to make the nations of the Earth believe that they are being invaded by aliens. The nations, instead of escalating their current partisan struggles, band together against this perceived common threat, and it appears that a peace that saves humanity is achieved. Of particular significance, Watchmen has been cited by Lost producer Damon Lindelof as "the greatest piece of popular fiction ever produced". Source: Entertainment Weekly
- The Constant Gardener: KVH, a large pharmaceutical company, under the cover of AIDS tests and treatments, is testing a tuberculosis drug with severe side effects. KVH is covering up the side effects and improving the drug in anticipation of a massive multiresistant tuberculosis outbreak.
- Equilibrium: After a devastating Third World War, the world's leaders fear that the human race cannot survive another such war, and set about building a new society that is free of conflict. They believe that human emotion is responsible, and their solution is medicate the population with a drug that destroys emotions, ironically saving humankind by destroying humanity.
- V For Vendetta (movie): A totalitarian British government of the future releases a virus to fake a terrorist attack by foreign religious extremists. According to plan, the virus kills almost 100,000 people in Great Britain, and the populace is gripped by fear.
- The "30%" theory: Mittelwerk states that it is vitally important for fatalities to be no more or less than 30%. It's possible he believes that reducing the world population by this exact number, via the virus, will finally change the ciphers of the Valenzetti Equation enough to save mankind. I have the virus, I have the will...
- The research site described by Hanso in the first half may be entirely unrelated to the village intervention site described by Mittelwerk in the second half.
- The meeting may have been a deliberate setup by Mittelwerk to catch Rachel Blake.
- When Rousseau changed the transmitter from broadcasting the core numerical values to her own message, this change was noticed by the Hanso foundation.
- Zooming in on the framed document on the wall behind Alvar Hanso (not the Dharma logo; the other one, near the globe) may reveal a diploma or similar document.
- Note that the logo that appears when the code FVH7N is entered on the Hanso Exposed website is the same one that appears during the film, and is known as the "Unidentified Sri Lanka Video Logo" . At the end of the film, the Swan's logo and the Pearl's logo appear, which suggests that those two facilities were the ones being used at the time.
- See also main article: DHARMA logos.
- As the Lost Experience occurs during the summer of 2006, and as we have learned, the people on the island are still in 2004, the Sri Lanka video could be uncovering something that will play out during the later seasons of Lost, as Mittelwerk and his cronies try their cocktail on the Lostaways. These may be the test subjects in the Spider Protocol.