The End/Theories

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The End
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Eternal Recurrence or "See Ya In Another Life, Brotha"


3x08 OuroborosPin2
Eloise wears a pin symbolizing Recurrence
6x17 OuroborosRope
Locke winds the rope into recurring loops

Since the "DHARMA Initiative" name and symbol recur often throughout the series, an investigation of dharma suggests a path toward an explanation of events within the story. Dharma is an essential tenet of many Eastern philosophies including Buddhism [1], and while it has many shades of meaning, this one seems the most appropriate for now: The essential nature of a thing. In Buddhism the essential nature of the universe rests on the concept of Eternal Recurrence which proposes that existence is an infinite cycle of lives or realities from which the individual must strive to liberate themselves. Attaining liberation is described as "Enlightenment" or "Awakening".

When Desmond expresses his desire "to leave" he's speaking of liberation:

KATE: "Who are you? What do you want?"
DESMOND: "My name is Desmond Hume. And even though you don't realize it, I'm your friend. And, as for what I want--I want to leave." [2]
The eye, allusion to Buddhism's Third Eye
Jivamala, necklace of pearls combined with other symbology

Another concept flows from Dr. Richard Alpert also known as Ram Dass, a psychologist, spiritual guide and the inspiration for the Lost character's name. Much of his work stems from Eastern philosophies, religions and mysticism [3], the basis from which he describes the space of existence:

"For it is only the non-attached mind that can truly appreciate how it is. Otherwise you're just seeing the projections of your own desires.
How different the space. That's because the television channels you're living on more than one of them simutaneously, you're starting to live on all of them, all at once." [4]

This idea springs from Hindu literature:

"Unlimited universes pass through the pores of your body just as particles of dust pass through the openings of a screened window" [5]

Ram Dass' television channel analogy refers to the concept that existence consists of experience on multiple planes or realities all happening at the same time.

These two ideas combined, striving toward enlightenment within a multi-reality universe, serve to explain much in Lost.

The show introduces Recurrence metaphorically with Swan station occupant Desmond Hume - an apparent obsessive repeatedly entering a code into a computer. It's a strange situation because the computer could be programmed to enter the code and "press the button", leading to the thought that it has an ulterior purpose. The computer's presence suggests the concept of an infinite loop because it's both a programming error and it describes Desmond's behavior. Clearly he wants to leave the loop, as he desperately asks Locke, "Are you him?" (his replacement). In the ensuing events, a fix arrives in the form of a bullet directed into the heart (power transformer) of the computer, breaking the loop and liberating Desmond.

An infinite loop is a motif say writers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse as they discuss how it applies to Locke's compass:

Damon Lindelof: "It is in a mobious loop. An infinite loop."
Carlton Cuse: "Yeah."
Carlton Cuse: "The idea that it is in a mobious loop is a very intentional motif that we are executing here..."
Damon Lindelof: "And here's another thing. If Jack is somehow successful in carrying out Faraday's mission, he will free the compass."
Carlton Cuse: "That's true." [6]

Desmond also introduces multi-reality consciousness but some have interpreted these events as demonstrations of precognition and time travel. Hurley adopts this interpretation, as he describes how Desmond knew Claire was drowning:

"I'll tell you how he knew -- that guy sees the future, dude." [7]

This interpretation comes easily to a culture viewing the events through the lens of modern Western philosophy, one steeped in math and science. Math is essentially a tool of prediction. Knowing X, one can solve for, or predict Y. Science has also suggested time travel may be possible.

However useful these concepts may seem, they don't help understand circumstances in Lost. In fact, in following sections, attempts to fit precognition and time travel into the story's circumstances lead to inconsistencies, clues suggesting other conclusions, and the nagging thought that things don't quite seem to fit. It's as if the authors are suggesting that attempts to understand from a Western perspective will only lead to a false perception of reality. Lindelof confirms this in a podcast when he describes Lost's unconventional time travel:

"Just a quick sort of side note in terms of the way that we deal with time travel on the show - we are very paradox averse; that is to say, when our characters are time traveling, nothing that they do can change the present or the future that you have seen. Which is different than you know, the conventional Back to the Future time travel story telling. [8]

More Episode Specific Details

Pilot (1x01) | Man of Science, Man of Faith (2x01) | The Incident (5x16) | LA X (6x01)

Beyond Western Perceptions of Reality

The Trouble with Time Travel

"A concurrent time jump..."???

On the heels of Lindelof's warning about unconventional time travel in Lost, follows a more recent comment in the official Lost Encyclopedia which describes an apparent time travel event as, "A concurrent time jump...". This phrase seems odd because "concurrent" implies at the same time, yet "jump" implies two different times. A puzzling statement to say the least, but perhaps the difficulty lies in thinking in conventional terms. What we need is an unconventional time travel theory that can explain this phrase as well as the troubles with time travel that are layed out in the following sections.

The Problem with Precognition

Precognition can be thought of as time travel since it involves passing information through time.

In "Flashes Before Your Eyes", Desmond apparently time travels to the past and meets Eloise. While in conversation with her, a man wearing red shoes dies in an accident near them. She admits knowing he would die. In fact, it's suggested she had intervened many times to prevent his death. It seems Eloise has changed the past, but this contradicts an important recurring theme that whatever happened, happened (the past can't be changed), which casts doubt on this proprosal. Shortly Desmond returns to the present. In the ensuing events he appears to see the future preventing Charlie's death. These events inconsistently follow because we were just exploring Desmond's power to travel the past, not divine the future. Instead, if he's actually using his power to see the past - the past as it appears in another reality - then the storyline has greater consistency and it lends evidence that this interpretation is the correct one. All this interpretation requires is Desmond recalling the incident from another reality to intervene in this reality, thus saving Charlie. In likewise fashion, Eloise used her memory of other realities to intervene in the case of the man with red shoes. In a sense, Desmond and Eloise are obtaining information from the past of other realities to intervene in this reality, so that could be considered time travel. However, the information only describes a possible future. The fact that Desmond's and Eloise's interventions change events in this reality, means the information is not an absolute certainty. With that caveat, we conclude that Desmond can't foretell the future, and Eloise can't change the past, and presumably that goes for everyone.

More evidence emerges in "Flashes Before Your Eyes" when Charlie says,

"I don't buy this precognitive insanity rubbish. Look, if the baited wonder could predict the future he wouldn't have ended up there would he."

(This quote differs from the transcript [9] because the theory asserts that the bolded words could be interpreted as shown. Charlie's accent makes it difficult to be absolutely certain of either interpretation. According to the transcript he says, "bearded wonder", but that doesn't seem to make sense since he's mocking Desmond, yet Charlie and Hurley both have beards as well.)

The phrase, "he wouldn't have ended up there" can't be speaking of Desmond specifically because he's not "there" yet. It's an abstraction or more general principle of the idea that no one can predict the future to change it. Therefore it's a much more powerful statement that it's impossible. Also the phrase, "baited wonder" leads to the suspicion that Desmond represents the bait in this precognition long con.

More Troubles

When the characters return to the island aboard the Ajira jet in 2007, they seemingly disappear into the past of 1977. The same event can be explained alternatively as their consciouness opening to another reality. The characters don't travel into the past, because that would violate the rule that whatever happened, happened. When they cross from the present of one reality, they become aware of the present of another reality. To an observer outside both realities, his/her clock indicates the same absolute time in both realities. Time hasn't changed, events have. In another reality, it took 30 years longer for the events that occurred in 1977 in one reality to occur in another reality. This really isn't so surprising because small time changes along the chain of events throughout history could easily add up to a large time displacement of events further down the chain. The evidence for this:

  • In "Flashes Before Your Eyes" while in the pub, Desmond recalls events of a soccer goal on TV and a club wielding man entering the bar, but here the events occur a day later than he remembers them taking place. Evidence of an event displaced further down the chain.
  • Shortly following the Jughead detonation, subsequent flash, and Kate saying, "We're back," Jack remarks to Kate that, "it seems like it just happened." Kate responds, "Or it happened 30 years ago". A clue that what we thought happened 30 years ago, really did just happen, but in another reality.
  • Three years have passed for the group that left the island in 2004 until they return aboard the Ajira flight. The same three years have passed for those who appeared to travel back to 1974 to join the Dharma Initiative before they reunite with those on the flight. If the group on the plane could time travel, why not undo the three years they callously let slip by to help their friends? Presumably Jack and his group could jump back in time to the same point that Sawyer and his group arrived at the Initiative, thereby rendering immediate assistance. It makes more sense, for a time travel model. However, if your universe is based on a multiple reality model, where time travel doesn't exist, then the equal passage of time for both groups makes more sense.
  • In "Flashes Before Your Eyes", Desmond apparently time travels to a pub in the past. He asks his physicist friend about the possibility of time travel, to which his friend responds with laughter - a hint that Desmond is mistaken.
JACK: "When you run all the steps in every section of a stadium up and down."
SARAH: "Why would you do that?"
JACK: "I'm intense."
"Intense" is a clue that this apparent flashback scene is really "in tense" or "in time" with the island scene. If that's the case, then it can be reasonably assumed that all the flashbacks, flash-forwards and flash-sideways are happening "in time" with the island events.
Furthermore, "intense" is used in connection with the stadium. If the stadium and its many stairwells symbolize the many realities of consciousness, Jack's statement suggests that these realities are "in time" with each other. Evidence:
  • Jack and Desmond run up two adjacent stairs but Desmond travels faster which fits the idea that events in one reality may happen more quickly. Additionally, Jack says, "I wasn't trying to catch up.". Desmond replies, "Aye, of course you weren't". In other words, the speed of events in one reality don't depend upon the speed of events in another reality. It explains why similar events are out of sync across the realities.
  • Desmond crosses over to Jack's staircase to help him which mimics his later reality crossovers.
5x09 RecruitsPhoto&amp;Live
Photo and live image side by side

More apparent evidence of time travel occurs near the end of "Namaste". The scene takes place in 2007. Here, Christian (really MIB since we hear his characteristic clicking sound and tree rustling shortly before) presents Sun with a photograph taken in 1977, depicting Jack, Kate, and Hurley as recruits of the DHARMA Initiative. The next scene occurs in 1977. In this scene, the audience has a chance to look through the camera's lens as someone snaps the afore mentioned photograph. This is clear because the audience's screen image appears very similar to the photograph. The subjects are still, framed by our TV screen, and looking directly at us. In addition, we hear the camera click to indicate the point of view resides within the camera. The click also tells us the precise moment the film was exposed, so we can compare this photo with the photo in the prior scene. Now, the evidence that the foregoing events do not support a time travel interpretation:

  • The photograph and screen image are not exactly the same. In the photograph, background tree limbs can be seen to the left of Jack's head. In the image they are to the right of his head. Also, in the photo, a baldheaded man can be seen toward the right side of the group. In the image he's hidden by someone in front of him. Since the photo and image are not the same, the events are not the same.If the photo and image were from the same reality, they must be the same, because whatever happened in the past of Sun's 2007 reality would carry forward through time until she observes it. It can't change. If somehow Jack, Kate, and Hurley went back and changed the photo event, then Sun would see the changed photo because that version would carry forward through time until she sees it. Again both photo and image would be the same.
  • Since MIB, a known liar and deceiver offers the photo, it seems judicious to suspect the obvious interpretation.

They Drop "The Bomb" and Change Everything

At first, the bomb doesn't seem to have worked, everyone survived, there's low blast damage and the characters themselves don't believe it worked. But how would they know? They're in a different reality. As Ram Dass would put it, they changed channels.

Supporting this concept is Juliet's message from the grave in which she relates to Miles, "that it worked." Having died and passed into another reality she was aware of the submerged island. Also, at The Source, before Desmond is lowered into the cave, he tells Jack, he doesn't have to do this, because there is a better place where Jack is happy. Desmond has awareness of other realities, knows flight 815 didn't crash because of the island's submersion, and apparently concludes the showdown with MIB is unnecessary. More reasons to believe "it worked":

  1. In, "Dr. Linus", we know from the flash-sideways conversation between Ben and his father concerning the island, that it was above water earlier in Ben's lifetime. However, later it was submerged as shown in, "LAX Part 1", so obviously something happened in the intervening period to cause it.
  2. In the FST Juliet explains to Sawyer how to make a stuck vending machine work - a metaphor for a soul stuck in eternal recurrence. The remedy she says is to unplug, and re-plug the machine and that "it's technically legal" - a metaphor that acknowledges whatever happened, happened in this reality, but in the next reality events can be changed because it falls within the rules. Sawyer complies, the candy bar falls, and Juliet responds, "see, it worked" - as it worked with the vending machine, so it works with the universe. The bomb fell, and it worked - change was effected.
  3. In, "The End", several characters say, "it worked", in unrelated dialog, but still very likely clues that "it worked".

With the submersion of the island it appears the authors are taking a decidedly unfavorable view of Western philosophy. They just hid the mysteries of the world and perhaps the universe from the human race, which not uncoincidentally results in a much better life for the characters. Related events:

  1. Sun and Jin's baby Gaia - meaning mother earth - is killed in the submarine explosion caused by MIB, the embodiment of human emotion. Essentially it's a metaphor for unbridled human emotion destroying the planet.
  2. Radzinsky - icon of Western ideals - causes The Incident by insisting in a mad, frenzied manner that drilling must continue, whereas Chang - icon of Eastern ideals - warns that he should stop.

The Struggle Against Recurrence: Rational Mind vs. Emotional Mind

Buddhism teaches that to break free of recurrence one must follow the path of enlightenment. Part of that path means understanding ones own nature, personified as a struggle between the rational mind embodied as Jacob - the Apollo archetype character, and the emotional mind embodied as MIB - the Dionysus archetype character. Apollo represents order and reason, which Jacob demonstrates in his calm, sage manner with the other characters. Dionysus represents the opposite - disorder and raw emotion, which MIB demonstrates by killing Mother and other assorted unpleasantries.
More reasons Jacob is based on Apollo:

  • In "The Incident, Part 2", Jacob hands Jack an Apollo candy bar, his business/calling card per se.
  • In "The Incident, Part 1", Jacob catches, prepares, and eats a fish. A fish commonly symbolizes wisdom. When he offers his brother some, he refuses.
  • Apollo and Dionysus were brothers.

More reasons MIB is based on Dionysus:

  • MIB appears as Christian Shepard, John Locke and others. Dionysus possessed the power of illusion.
  • In Across The Sea, young MIB can see and communicate with dead Claudia, whereas Jacob can not. Dionysus could communicate with the dead.
  • Dionysus' followers went crazy, demonstrated by Claire under MIB, and the members of Rousseau's Science expedition who came into contact with the smoke monster.

  • In, "The Substitute", Sawyer asks Locke aka The Smoke Monster, "What are you?". Locke answers,"... I know what it's like to feel joy, to feel pain, anger, fear, to experience betrayal. I know what's it's like to lose someone you love.". More simply, the incarnation of emotion. [10]

The End

The Bigger Reality

The island is used as a stage to play out issues of the mind, conceived as possessing two spheres of perception, that of reason and emotion.

Desmond Hume takes his name from eighteenth century Western philosopher David Hume. Hume in his work, A Treatise of Human Nature believes the mind can be divided into two kinds of perception:

"All the perceptions of the human mind resolve themselves into two distinct kinds, which I shall call IMPRESSIONS and IDEAS."

The first kind, impressions or emotions:

"Those perceptions, which enter with most force and violence, we may name impressions: and under this name I comprehend all our sensations, passions and emotions, as they make their first appearance in the soul."

The second kind, ideas or reason:

"By ideas I mean the faint images of these in thinking and reasoning ..."

Hume's duality of mind is personified in Jacob and MIB. In, "Across the Sea" the concept appears when the two brothers are born. The MIB infant demonstrates emotion by crying while baby Jacob remains calm and emotionless as expected of reason.

This concept of mind plays a part in the ensuing conflict between Science and Religion over the foundation of morality.

The Climactic Battle
Science vs. Religion

David Hume believed morality resided in the emotions. Prior to this, it was thought morality resided in rational thought based on religion. The two ideas are in conflict because if morality stems from emotions - it's built in or innate - then religion becomes unnecessary to guard against moral corruption. Hume's idea was derived from John Locke's philosophy.

In "The End", Hume's idea is put to the test on the island - a metaphoric battleground in the mind. Jack personifies the learned part of the rational mind. The Smoke Monster (TSM) represents the learned part of the negative emotional mind. In the cave, when Jack says to TSM, "Locke was right all along", his statement has a dual meaning describing the conflict. The show's John Locke was a man of faith, so one sense of his statement takes the rational/religious side of the conflict. The other sense represents philosophers Locke/Hume side.

As the man of science lowers weapon Desmond into the symbolic mind, TSM's hands begin to bleed (allusion to the similar Hatch scene) suggesting Jack may be right. When Desmond and metaphorically David Hume pull the plug on religion the experiment begins.

Theory of Mind

It doesn't go well for the man of science. The emotions represented as fire do not produce a bloom of morality to destroy MIB. Not only that, the emotions are overwhelming the innate reason as represented by the water. The water is receding, the island is crumbling, and the mind is going down.

At this point, MIB gloatingly informs Jack he was wrong. However, Jack shortly responds with a blood producing punch informing MIB he was wrong also, as much of his power is receding with the water. It seems counterintuitive that much of MIB's power resides in reason, but consider a situation in which someone causes an injury to their father which renders him wheelchair bound for life. Such a person might analyze the accident and come up with many more reasons of their personal fault in the matter. The guilt becomes stronger.

Later on the cliffs, Jack as learned rationality destroys MIB as learned negative emotion with Kate's help. In the ensuing events, Kate twice informs the others and the audience that Locke's dead. Important, because Christian will use similar words in his conversation with Jack in the church.

So what happened when MIB was destroyed? We know MIB assumed Locke's image, memory, and mannerisms when his deceased body was brought back to the island. Clearly some essence of Locke was extracted from his corpse. That essence could be called his consciousness or certainly a part of it. The result being, MIB had robbed Locke of part of his consciousness encasing it in an envelope of negative emotion. To right this affliction Dr. Jack intervenes, destroys MIB and sets Locke's consciousness free.

As evidence, in the FST Locke begins to move his foot at the same time MIB was destroyed on the island. The episode demonstrates this by showing Jack's neck bleed shortly before Locke's foot moves. On the island Jack's neck bleeds from a knife stab shortly before TSM is destroyed. With Locke's consciousness free of the learned negative emotion, he is free to walk again. His inability to walk was all in his head, created by the guilt he felt for paralyzing his father.



6x17 MindXray
Jack prepares to free Locke's mind
  • Near the beginning of the "The End", Jack examines an x-ray of Locke's head - a metaphor for examining the mind. A similar x-ray can be seen at the nurses station when Sawyer visits the hospital. Note that Locke still had use of his arms, so his injury should be below the shoulders on the spine, yet Jack is examining his skull.
  • The island is a metaphor for the mind since its moral imbalance - as put by TSM, “They Come, They Fight, They Destroy, They Corrupt.” - mirrors that of the characters morally imbalanced minds. For example, Kate commits murder, Sawyer is a con man, Miles is a necromancing swindler, etc.

Innate Mind

In, "Across the Sea", young Jacob demonstrates unexpected superior innate negative emotion when he physically beats MIB in his attempt to leave the family for the others. In similar fashion, MIB demonstrates an unexpected superior innate rational mind when he tells Jacob he just knows how to play the senet game. Both clues that innate properties play a role in one's makeup. However more is involved because both turned out much differently than their innate qualities would indicate.

Learned Rational Mind

Jack becomes one with rationality when he drinks the water representing reason provided by Jacob. Jack shows initial ignorance of circumstances much as Jacob did when he first accepted the protectorship. However, Jacob's wisdom has grown through experience as demonstrated by his interventions throughout the series. Now Jack has much to learn.

Learned Emotional Mind

In "Across The Sea" Mother tells Jacob he could learn something "bad" from the people:
MOTHER: ... "If I had let her live, she would have taken you back to her people; and those people are bad, Jacob--very bad. I-I couldn't let you become one of them. I needed you to stay good."
The Man In Black agrees with her assessment:
MIB: "... you mean my people. You wanna know if they're bad. That woman may be insane, but she's most definitely right about that."
MIB: "... Trust me, I've lived among them for 30 years. They're greedy, manipulative, untrustworthy, and selfish."
Jacob and MIB both started out "good", at least good enough to assume the protectorship as Mother confirms:
MOTHER: "It will have to be one of you." [11]
Therefore, MIB must have learned the "bad" from people. This conclusion together with MIB's characterization of himself as emotion incarnate, indicates he represents the learned emotional mind.


In "The End" Sawyer asks Jack, "feel any different?", after drinking the water from Jacob. He responds, "not really". So the water had no effect on his emotions implying it represents the opposite - reason. This leads to the conclusion that the fire must represent the emotions.


In Buddhism one who has overcome the first 3 fetters, ego, doubt, and the fallacy of ritual, are said to "enter the stream" which represents the first stage of an assured path to total enlightenment. [12] In the show, Jack drinks water from Jacob and physically enters a stream which references this Buddist concept. In order to reach this stage, one has gained spiritual wisdom [13] or in the psychological realm - reason.
Ram Dass describes how reason assists in expanding consciousness:
On the other hand, he feels reason has its limits:
"These days most people put their faith in man's intellect and his power of reason. Consequently, those few who have powers which transcend the rational mind are in an unusual and extraordinary position. ...There are many stories in India of yogis who in the course of very intense sadhana have developed certain powers..." [15]
This suggests that Jack's "stream entry" may signal his transcendence of reason thereby gaining a power which is later used to take away MIB's powers.
The Concert

Before one dies, one should practice dying, counsels Ram Dass:

"Practice Dying
1. Experience your own death...
...Laura Huxley has members of her seminars experience their own death psychologically." [16]

Additionally, he advocates a sort of party:

"This is your last party. Speak to everyone there, tell them all about yourself, about your mistakes and your suffering, about your love and your longings. No longer do you need to protect yourself, no longer do you need to hide behind a wall or a suit of armor. It is your last party: you can explode, you can be miserable or pitiful, insignificant or despicable. At your funeral you can be yourself." [17]

Within this psychological death, Dass describes a more specific emotional death and rebirth:

"Let your tears flow from the very depth of you. Let your bitterness flow out with them. And when the bitterness is out, your tears will be gentle and sweet. Then take the hand of this lifeless body of yours, take it in your hands and with respect and love bring it to your lips and kiss it. Now gently come back to your living body." [18]
The Church

Earlier it was noted that Kate twice informed the others and audience that Locke died. What had actually died was Locke's learned negative emotion (guilt), not Locke himself. In the show's symbolic language, Locke dying or anyone dying, means their learned negative emotion has died. In the church when Christian tells Jack everyone there has died, he's using this symbolic language. Everyone dying simply means everyone has shed themselves of their own learned negative emotions.

There is No Now

Within the church, in a bit of obscure dialog Christian and Jack discuss the situation:

Jack Shephard: "But why are they all here now?"
Christian Shephard: "Well, there is no now, here"

Christian's cryptic statement requires context which Ram Dass provides:


The above quote seems to contradict Christian's statement but the concept of "here & now" presents a mental exercise along the path to "no now". Again, Ram Dass clarifies:

"1. Ask yourself: Where am I?
Answer: Here.
Ask yourself: What time is it?
Answer: Now.
Say it until you can hear it" [20]

This exercise is meant to focus the mind. Again, Ram Dass explains by quoting Swami Vivekananda:

"How are we to know that the mind has become concentrated? Because the idea of time will vanish. The more time passes un-noticed the more concentrated we are ... All time will have the tendency to come and stand in the one present. So the definition is given, when the past and present come and stand in one, the mind is said to be concentrated." [21]

Consequently, Jack, Christian and the rest have attained the state of mind where time vanishes and therefore there is "no now".

To Remember and To Let Go

In more obscure language, Christian and Jack continue:

CHRISTIAN: "...You needed all of them, and they needed you."
JACK: "For what?"
CHRISTIAN: "To remember and to let go."

One meaning is overt since prior to this dialog many scenes occur of remembered friends and loved ones.

Another meaning: Hanuman Chalisa is a devotional song appearing in The Ram Dass Tape Library which contains the following line:

"Those who remember Hanumanji in thought, word and deed are well guarded against their odds in life."

More generally, remember God. In Ram Dass' words:

"We forget about our own divinity. We forget about this higher part of our being. Chemicals have been used traditionally to bring back that memory, to remember God, to reawaken--not only to remember intellectually, but to experientially remember--the living spirit." [22]

It could be said that the scenes of remembered friends and loved ones is remembering God since divinity exists in everyone.

The End of Eternal Recurrence, For Some Anyway

Near the end of the series Desmond liberates Kate and Sayid from jail - a metaphor symbolizing release from the prison of Eternal Recurrence.

In "The End", Hurley says to Ben, "You were a really good number two". Ben responds with, "And you were a great number one". Since it's already been shown that all the realities are concurrent in time, they had only been leaders for a matter of minutes. It's a joke as should have been suspected coming from Hurley. The jaw dropping moment happens when Ben doesn't go into the church - the exit from the multi-reality universe. Since Ben stays behind he remains in the multi-verse which includes the island realities. Hurley said Ben "was" a really good number 2, so he was either demoted to 3,4, etc., or he was promoted to number 1. Since he was a "really good" number 2, demotion doesn't seem likely. Leaving promotion the most likely conclusion. Surprisingly, Ben has realized his dream, control of the island!

In the final scene of the series the camera shifts between Jack in the church and on the island. The island shots are from different realities as evidenced by the different amounts and placement of blood on his face - confirmation that Jack died in all of them. In past episodes the camera has shown a close-in shot of a characters eye opening to symbolicly indicate an opening awareness of the reality in which events are about to take place. It's a reference to Buddhism's third eye. In the final scene, his eye closes indicating he has closed the door on all the realities of the multi-reality-verse. Freedom brotha!

The Planes of Reality

1x01 ModelPlaneFromRealityPlane
From the reality plane comes the model (leaf) plane
6x17 ModelPlaneToRealityPlane
From the model (leaf) plane comes the reality plane

In the pilot episode, the Losties state of mind confines them to only modeling the reality of the plane crash; fate in the guise of the emotional mind determines their destiny. Clarifying a bit, the first image to the right is from the pilot episode after the Oceanic 815 crash. Jack simulates the flight and crash of Oceanic 815 with a model plane fashioned from a leaf. Below the leaf, the yellow flare of fire can be seen representing the energy release that brought down flight 815.

In "The End" the Losties make a course correction, by effectively reversing the process in the pilot episode. Here, they create reality from the model. In the second image, the bamboo leaf models appear to the left as the actual plane flys out of them. You can see that a group of 3 leaves look like a fuselage with 2 swept back wings. We can extend this theory by realizing the bamboo represents the mind net so not only does reality flow from the model, but the model flows from the mind net. In essence, their minds create reality. It's the answer to the struggle between free will and destiny, the confirmation that we don't have to be subject to the hand of fate, we create our own reality.

Assorted Mysteries Solved

Richard Alpert: A Man in The Now

This character takes his name from Dr. Richard Alpert, also known as Ram Dass, a psychologist and guru. He wrote the bestseller, Remember Be Here Now. [23] Among its metaphysical themes is the concept of living in the here and now.

Taking the hint that Richard lives in the here and now resolves the apparent view that he is ageless. Near the end of the series Miles plucks a grey hair from Richard's head. Clearly a sign that Richard is ageing. Actually he was never ageless. As shown, all the realities that the audience have seen occur in the present. The reality of Richard in the 1800's occurs at the same time as the reality of him in 1974, at the same time as the reality of him in 2007. He's not displaced in time, rather events are not happening at quite the same rate from reality to reality, so similar events are not in sync across realities.

Seemingly at odds with the multi-reality-verse explanation is the scene in, "Ab Aeterno" where Jacob appears to give Richard eternal life. In responding to Richard's pleas, Jacob says he can't return his wife or absolve him of his sins, but he can grant him eternal life. It's a joke because Richard already has eternal life within the loop of eternal recurrence. Jacob doesn't have to do a thing, so "he can do that". Jacob's claimed power is suspicious from the start since he can't grant the former wishes, why would he have the power over the latter?

Awakening Consciousness or Why I'm Leaving on a Jet Plane

Throughout the series characters experience events and memories from other realities. Ram Dass aka Dr. Richard Alpert in Remember Be Here Now explains:

"William James said: Our normal waking consciousness is but one special type of consciousness whilst all about it parted from it by the filmiest of screens there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different. We may go through life without suspecting their existence but apply the requisite stimulus and at a touch they are there in all their completeness." [24]

William James has another connnection to Lost via brother Henry James' authorship of A Turn of the Screw, which appears in the series. The above quote is from James' lectures: The Varieties of Religious Experience

James' consciousness screens are lowered by certain stimuli which Ram Dass lists:

"Thru being along in the desert
Thru falling in love
Thru bearing a child
Thru nearly dying
Thru turning on
Thru yoga
Thru taking any one of your senses & pushing it beyond itself" [25]

In Lost these stimuli appear before the characters awaken to the other realities. For example, in the FST Claire bears a child and then remembers the island reality.

In the final episode the concepts of trigger stimuli and escape are interwoven in the jet plane getaway. After MIB is destroyed, Kate and Sawyer decide to depart the island in case Jack can't prevent its destruction. To this end they pilot MIB's own means of escape, a boat, to the jet liner planning to use it as their exodus vehicle of choice. This is a curious if not illogical plan because ordinarily a sound boat would be preferred over a damaged plane if either could provide escape. Earlier in the series, Michael was able to leave the island by boat given the correct heading by Ben which Kate and Sawyer overheard, so navigation doesn't present an obstacle. As if to emphasize the improbable notion of using the plane, the repairs were similarly improbable. Duct tape lacks the strength to contain the very high pressure within metal lined hydraulic lines. Likewise, aluminum can't be welded with a low temperature propane torch, especially with rain cooling the metal making the torch virtually useless.

Since escape via jet seems improbable, an ulterior purpose comes to mind. A jet suggests a "high", not only from a sense of exhilarating speed but as physical height or altitude during flight. This "high" provides the stimulus Kate, Sawyer and Claire need to awaken to the other realities and escape Recurrence. In fact, the poor condition of the repairs and the jet itself demonstrate it is being pushed beyond its capabilities, or as Ram Dass puts it, "pushing it beyond itself".

Jets and Bombs

Another interesting jet connection occurs in a video game released in 2008 mimicking some Lost elements: Fallout 3. In the game, a drug appears called Jet, derived from earlier experiments with psychedelic drugs LSD and Psilocybin. Psilocybin also appears in Remember Be Here Now which Ram Dass employs as one of his listed stimuli to "turn on" to a greater reality. These connections suggest the jet liner's height may additionally symbolize a drug induced "high".

Since "The Jet" may signify a mind expanding drug experience, it implies "The Bomb" signifies a similar experience as the term is associated with LSD. In an episode of the television series Dragnet, Jack Webb describes LSD as "The Bomb". This leads to the conclusion that the detonation of the Jughead bomb was symbolic of a mind expanding experience.

The Numbers

The number sequence 4,8,15,16,23,42 represents a progression of awareness along the path of enlightenment.

The Mind Net
6x17 MindNetBeHereNow
The Mind Net
6x17 MindNetBamboo
Bamboo Mind Net Icon
Geodesic Dome Mind Net Icon

The cover of Ram Dass' book Remember, Be Here Now contains an image of a network. Within the book he describes a "mind net":


In Lost, the crisscrossing bamboo trees and the geodesic dome of the Swan station are icons of a network or "mind net".

The Source of The Smoke Monster

The mind net suggests the method by which Locke/Smokey affected Claire's state of mind. By receiving Claire's mistrust vibrations he sends them back in an intensified form as paranoia. It also suggests the means by which he gains the memories of others.

An example of vibrations sent out and coming back occurs in the base of the Taweret statue when Bram and his team attempt to avenge Jacob's death. Initially Locke/Smokey has no intention of harming them, it is only when they send out their intention to kill him, that the vibration returns and results in their own deaths:

LOCKE: :"... You can go. You're free.
BRAM: "Kill him! Spread out! Get him! ..." [27]

Essentially, Bram and his associates are part of Locke/Smokey's mind net contributing to the negative energy which destroys them. This concept is further clarified by showing what happens when an individual doesn't send out negative vibrations. As Locke/Smokey exits the statue, the group outside is about to shoot him when Richard wisely counsels otherwise:

RICHARD: "Don't shoot him! Don't shoot him!" [28]

Everyone survives, implying the group's restraint from sending out negative vibrations to the mind net saves them.

Finally, the mind net suggests the true nature of Smokey. He is not an entity separate from humankind, which might be conceived as The Devil or some evil thing. He says as much himself:

"BEN: What are you?
LOCKE: Wh.. I'm not a what Ben, I'm a who." [29]

He is Locke. He is the Man in Black. He is everyone; the combined manifestation of everyone's negative vibrations on the island.

Further evidence of Smokey's origin appears in the exchange between Locke and Richard outside the statue:

RICHARD: [eyes widen] ... you?
LOCKE: Me. [30]

Richard names Locke/Smokey "you" and he responds by naming himself "me". Smokey is "you and me".

More Episode Specific Details

What They Died For (6x16)

Recurrence Symbols

Ancient civilizations used The Ouroboros as a symbol of Recurrence. Typically the symbol consists of a snake's body forming a circle with the head swallowing the tail.

2x01 OuroborosCable
Locke forms the cable into an Ouroboros

In the series, common objects within scenes are used as abstractions of The Ouroboros. For instance, in Man of Science, Man of Faith, before Locke lowers Kate into The Hatch he bends the electric cable into a loop.

"Jack-Centric FST" - Everyone had their own Tailored FST

Following a lot of modern psychology concepts, primarily those of C.G. Jung, there's a very interesting philosophy which could be applicable to the entire church scene (or the entire FST as a whole). That is, the FST is merely one perspective of many possible perspectives (thus the FST we were shown, is the "Jack-centric" FST); the other people experienced their own tailored FST, only these alternate FSTs weren't presented in the episodes that show the Jack-centric FST.

There are tenets of this psychological theory that say everything around us: the keyboard I'm typing on now, the people I know, the building I live inside, everything in my reality is merely a manifestation (my own observation) or my perception of the physical reality as interpreted by my consciousness.

For the number of people involved in the main plots and subplots of the show, it seems peculiar that most of what we see in the final episode (The_End) revolves around Jack specifically, right down to their final gathering at the church (Lamp Post) where Jack was to hold his fathers funeral. If this was the only reality, it would diminish the relevance of the other people in this reality/FST. As they would having nothing more important in their lives/deaths to do than wait around for a "going away party" with Jack as the final, crucial pivot.

As the audience, we have omniscience to the narrative (i.e., we are able to observe the realities and resolutions for each character, especially involving scenes and situations that occur completely separate of Jack's direct observation or awareness). There is no permanent "main character" that we see the world through. Certainly Jack crosses over many of the subplots that do not involve him directly, but in the instance of The_End, the audience is finally given *one* choice perspective (Jack's) to tie up the entire story and link the climax on the island to the climax off the island.

Therefore, everyone in that church at the end were merely reflections of Jack's own relationships with them. His own, personal perspective of finality allows him, specifically, to bring everyone and everything together in a way that allows him to "move on," ushered by his very own father.

Using the only example we are given (Jack's) as a starting narrative-- every character, upon death, would see their own tailor made versions of the final moments before moving on.

  • For example: Placing the omniscient observer (the audience) in the perception and consciousness of Hurley may have shown an alternate FST where the final cross over was his wedding to Libby. Or we could have seen Rose and Bernard's 90th wedding anniversary... or what have you.
  • The same characters would exist in each individual's FST with ultimately the same resolutions (i.e., coming to the realization that they are dead), with different, specific, intimately unique outcomes for each member depending on the observer. We were simply given Jack's perspective, because (comparatively) his was the most epic and pivotal to the overall story to us as the audience.
    • It is possible, still, that Desmond could have experienced a similar FST to Jack (if not the same), making it his duty to have the human connections and share with people the way he couldn't in real life.
  • However, the church was (be it directly or indirectly) significant to everyone. The church is the Lamp Post where the Oceanic_6 went to meet Ms. Hawking with the pendulum underneath. It contains the Dharma Initiative Station that predicts how to reach the island in space/time.
  • Jack asked Kate specifically why they were going to the church and her only answer was "Because this is where you were supposed to have your father's funeral." Again, very tailored, very specific.
      • She could have simply said that because he was still not on the same page as everyone else.
  • Desmond tells Jack that they sat next to each other on the FST's 815 flight. That would suggest that the FST is not relative to the observer but absolute.
    • Desmond may have seen his own version (his own near-death experience, if you will) and it may have coincided with Jack's.
      • Regardless - and this gets into some of the more difficult parts of the psychology - outside confirmation from a secondary observer does not actually make anything absolute. Reality, all of it, is perception, relative. A man who can see claims there is a bright blue light projecting on a wall, and another man who cannot see claims there is no such thing - both perspectives are opposite but accurate depending on the observation point.
        • Self-contradictory. To say that reality is relative is itself making an absolute statement about reality which invalidates the claim as it defeats itself. Ergo Reality/truth is absolute.
  • This is why Aaron can appear throughout up to the final scene without implying that he died as a baby. Aaron isn't actually 'Aaron,' Aaron is Jack's projection of Aaron.
  • This is why the comment is made that "everyone dies, some long before and some long after" - some of them are clearly *alive* even when Jack finally expires on the island, shown flying away overhead - whether they are "currently" alive or dead is irrelevant, they are there, in the church, because they are Jack's perceptions.
    • Or because the FST exists outside of the space/time continuum. Time is not linear there. No one was waiting for anyone to die to move on, they simply were all just dead at that point and place. It potentially could have been 2000 earth years later (if Hurley wound up becoming immortal). FST exists outside of time. Christian says so (in The_End]).
  • It seems a bit presumptuous that Christan Shepperd would be the final custodian for everyone. Bernard and Rose are an excellent example of this - they really made an effort to *not* involve themselves in the people's affairs and simply live their own lives and yet there they are in the church. It's because *they* aren't really there; they're Jack's projections.
    • Christian was important to everyone. He was on the flight with everyone else, but he was dead. That made him connected to everyone and yet unique. He was also Claire's father. He met Sawyer in Australia. He took Ana Lucia with him. He appeared as the smoke monster to Locke. Jack was their "shepherd" and Christian was his "shepherd." Plus he has a great name for it.
      • I will agree that Christian, and thus ultimately Jack, where extremely central to the most amount of characters, but again it doesn't necessarily make it "absolute," it only makes it the most provocative observation (a.k.a. version) of the story to tell for the audience for entertainment purposes.
  • Why do we see Hurley telling Benjamin Linus that he was a great #2. Jack knows that Hurley is the new #1 but doesn't know that Hurley would need a #2 or ask Ben to be it.
  • Desmond needed to "awaken" everyone at that moment so Jack could realize that what he did mattered and they helped him let go as he helped them to let go.
  • This entire theory ignores, not only the interactions between Hurley and Ben it ignores what Desmond told Jack on the Island. That once he entered the light, he would go to another reality. He was wrong, as it turns out, but it's clear that Island-Desmond knew about FST-Desmond and everything else in the FST including the fact that he and Jack sat next to each other on Oceanic 815.
    • It directly states: "As the audience, we have omniscience to the narrative (i.e., we are able to observe the realities and resolutions for each character, especially involving scenes and situations that occur completely separate of Jack's direct observation or awareness)." The complication is created by the 4th wall; not only is this Jack's perspective, but our own perspectives as viewers of all the characters lives. We have been privy to events all along that "belong" to the perspective of individual characters (that may or may not interact with each other at some point). This theory attempts to state that each character likely got their own version of complete resolution that may have overlapped (but didn't necessarily have to). The final scenes we (as the audience) were experiencing only Jack's specific reality and the other characters were only there relative to him.
      • Except they would not build a place to find each other if everyone would just find each other in their own specialized place. It makes sense that it is a TV show (a story) and therefore we just seeing a Jack-centric story, not that the whole world is Jack-centric. For example Jack heard an explanation about the nature of the FST, but we should just infer that the other characters got an explanation off-camera or even some time in the Island timeline.
  • A small detail that would support this theory is that the table that the Losties sat at for the concert was table #23, which was the number attributed to Jack on the cave wall, on the lighthouse dial, and by his seat on the plane.
    • A small detail that breakdown this theory is that Juliet said just before dying that she'd like to take a coffea with sawyer sometime. Then, Miles revealed that she wanted to tell him also that "it worked" (Could be the bomb or the fact that she was aware that they would be all gathered again in a another world). Furthermore, she finally said those sentences in that so called Jack centric FST. To conclude, this finally leads to the idea that they all experiencing the same Limbo of after live world.

Relationships, Relativity, Perception, and Jungian Psychology

The use of Jungian psychology was used in the ending of the TV series Evangelion, and was presented by a vision of one of the characters telling the other "I'm not X. I'm the part of you that was in X and the part of X that was in you." Meaning that we're defined by our relationship with others and that our psychological selves are actually the intersections created between each other psyches. This is exactly what was portrayed with the FST. For every person there is a constructed FST based on the interactions between each character. Jack was centric not because it was his delusion, but because he was the one who affected the most of them while they were alive. Jack was an character puzzle piece shared by everyone, that everyone needed to fit in before their puzzle was complete. For example, Boone and Claire would have had little problem moving on without each other as they hardly interacted, but both of them needed Jack.

  • Things happened in the FST that Jack was not aware of and if it was simply Jack’s perspective what would be the point of Desmond trying to get everyone else to remember? Wouldn’t he only have to get Jack to remember? Jack wasn’t there when Sawyer and Juliet remembered, or when Sun and Jin remembered, etc; therefore, it has to be the same FST reality for everyone. Christian says that it is a place they allcreated together so they would be able to find each other. Jack was their leader on the island and they needed him to remember, they needed him to lead them again - only this time on to the afterlife.
  • The FST blends a story of faith with science fiction. The FST is an afterlife and it exists outside the normal construct of time. Time is not linear. Each character arrived there after their own deaths, which occurred over the span of many years. As Matthew Fox explained on JK Live afterward, there are faiths that believe the "soul" must relive it's life before it can move on. The FST is that stage of spiritual development (Ben is close but not ready, Michael Dawson and Ana Lucia Cortez (flash-sideways timeline) aren't even close, hence their absence) and the multi-faith temple is merely the last step for Jack to join the rest. It's not clear whether or not this is merely a staging ground or a destination in and of itself. After all, Christian is the only one we see actually enter the light. The rest stay behind.

In the alternative, Michael will move when Walt decides it is time to move on. Ben will never be allowed to move on; the last scenes with Hurley and Locke confirm this. Ben knows too much to be allowed to move on.

The Island is Hell

This section has been moved to The_Island/Theories

Plane wreckage in Credits

  • The plane footage was added by ABC, from footage from the pilot. It was not part of the narrative.

The closing shot above the credits is simply NOT part of the narrative story from the writers:

A lot of people were deceived by the end credits of “The End” that were running over the image of the Oceanic plane after the crash,on a desert beach. This image led ABC viewers to think that all of the passengers on the plane died after the crash. LOST writers and ABC have stated (reference: L.A. Times, May 25, 2010) that this image is NOT part of the last episode, and that it doesn’t have anything to do with the story. The story ends with Jack who closes his eyes forever, seeing the Ajira plane flying away. So, the Losties who manage to leave the island will go back to the outside world, to the U.S.A. They will die a long time after Jack, as Christian told his son in the church. Lapidus, Miles, Claire, Kate and Sawyer will carry on their walk toward redemption, living in the ordinary world. On the day they are ready, they will die and will join their fellows, in order to move on together.

Flashes before Desmond's eyes

  • In "Flashes Before Your Eyes", the world that Desmond flashes to is the same kind of limbo we see in this episode. It's not the same exact limbo, but it's the same concept. The Swan implosion killed him, and at this point the only person who meant anything to him was Penny, so he flashed to just before the moment he broke up with her (which originally happened just after he asked for Widmore's permission to marry her), just as the Losties, including Desmond, flashed to the Oceanic flight just before it was supposed to crash.
  • In both realities, Eloise seems to know what's going on and interacts with Desmond. In "Flashes Before Your Eyes", Eloise tried to convince him to do what he always did (course correction, as she explained), breaking up with Penny, so he could go back to the Island. In this episode, she tried to convince him to not get everyone to realize they are dead. The first time, breaking up with Penny sort of resurrected him on the Island. This is why he was naked. He was born again.
  • Since Oceanic 815 couldn't crash on the Island, they had no chance to resurrect. It forever altered the reality and stuck them in limbo. The reason the Island was underwater, is because the Losties blew it up in The Incident. The producers confirmed that is the reason the Island was underwater in the FST. Either they were lying, or it is a hint to this theory. Christian said they decided to make this world so they could be together. Knowing the crazy nature of the Island and the Source, the bomb could have assured their afterlife was like this.
  • The electromagnetic test that Widmore performed on Desmond gave him a near-death experience where he witnessed this afterlife, except he mistakenly believed it was a real timeline like we did and that the result of him doing whatever with The Source would get everyone there. Desmond represents the viewers, who at this point thought they knew the FST was the end and therefore whatever they did on the Island was pointless.
  • This theory could support the multi-religious theory. "Moving on" could mean going to heaven, staying in that world and living together forever, reincarnation, or even simultaneous resurrection into the real world! The end result is up to our imagination, but Desmond's "Flashes" limbo ended with his resurrection.
  • Desmond is not the "constant" - he was told to find a constant & he chose Penny. Desmond's role is to bring the Losties together, or guide them through the experience(s), which he does over and over again throughout the series. Desmond (& possibly Daniel Faraday) is a catalyst. When the timeline is fractured and keeps jumping through time at the flashes Sawyer leads Faraday & the group to the "back door" of the Swan hatch (he was looking for a shirt). Sawyer looking for a shirt is a flimsy reason to go to the back door of the hatch and possibly mess with the time line since at this point Flight 815 has not yet crashed - more than once someone says "Your camp hasn't been built yet." Only once Faraday is alone at the hatch back door does Desmond finally open it and asks Faraday "Are you him?". During this time Desmond is late pushing the button which causes the crash of flight 815.

But what about...

  • the rise and decline of the Dharma Initiative?
    • Not really important. We know who they were and what they did and we witnessed the purge.
  • the feud/battle between Alvar Hanso and Mittelwerk?
    • and whatever happened to the DeGroots?
      • These questions were raised in the ARGs and not the show. The DeGroots were mentioned, I believe, in one of the orientation videos, but they're not important. They were gimmicks to keep us interested during the off-season.
  • the involvement of Paik Industries?
    • Hardly brought up in the show, and ultimately unimportant. Most likely a coincidence that he was involved with them business-wise. Again, it was largely a gimmick during the ARGs to keep us interested in the show.
  • Ben's backstory, and why he had Sayid kill those people off Island?
    • Along with most of Season 4, this was largely abandoned due to the WGA strike. Widmore was confirmed to be the Economist and it was his men Ben was killing. We now know that after the freighter (presumably fairly recently afterwards) blew up Jacob approached Widmore. Ben thought Widmore was (still?) bad, so Ben assumed his men and organization would have to be destroyed to protect the O6 so they can get back. Ben killed Abaddon for this reason.
    • We know Ben's backstory. Anything else they could have shown would have been filler.
  • How about Annie? She would have had a huge back story with Ben

A Non-Supernatural Interpretation of The End

For those of you who don’t quite remember, LOST ended with everyone in the alternate-universe (altverse) meeting in a church and transcending into a new life. How so? Once everyone was able to disassociate themselves from their past and/or emotional attachments could they then “move on together.” Hence, the common theme running through the show, “live together or die alone.” After the Losties disassociate from their individuality and associate with togetherness could they be able to all walk into the light. A cliché, right? It’s almost as bad as when your brain actually becomes oxygen deprived and sees a whole lot of light. Nonetheless, this ending was interpreted by many viewers as being a folksy way of “walking into the gates of Heaven.” However, that is at best a superfluous interpretation and at worse a highly unparsimonious one. Here’s why…

Let’s recall that final scene wherein Jack and his dad are speaking. The pane glass window in the church had 6 symbols on it: an Om, a cross, a yin-yang symbol, a Star of David, and a wheel – perhaps the wheel of life or a representation of the actual wheel located on the island, when turned, would combine electromagnetic energy with water to create a release of energy. Regardless, if we interpret the church as actually being a type of purgatory, Heaven’s lobby, or limbo then that would suggest that the afterlife (something that is by very definition not natural) is nothing more than a human-constructed grand arena. Thus, we have taken a supernatural afterlife, made it subject to our rules, and thereby becoming natural.

Supernatural or not, can it not be said that this altverse is still the “afterlife”? Initially, no, but it could be yes. An afterlife is that which follows life thereby being dependent on life having to end, or not be alive. In that sense, there is no afterlife. In contrast, it could be an afterlife if we define it as being a result in a change of consciousness in your life, much like childhood into adulthood (childlife to adultlife). Nevertheless, these are physical and natural phenomenon and to understand them as being supernatural is elementary at best.

(Some content was deleted because it is simply theology of the afterlife. It is one thing to say what you think the SHOW was showing, but another to start going on about what the afterlife is.)

But we know that the altverse actually exists, so if the altverse is not supernatural then what is it? As we saw in LOST’s best episode, “The Constant”, someone’s consciousness can travel not only in time, but also in space (space= location, not space as in Star Wars) insofar as the consciousness can be witnessed by another consciousness; in other words, consciousness is interdependent. Let me break it down: a conscious requires another conscious to address it (ex. conscious 1 is only conscious 1 because conscious 2 has an awareness of conscious 1 and vice-versa), so even if a consciousness dies the consciousness of others can still be conscious of the deceased; thus, only when someone’s conscious dies can it then become immortal and timeless— via memory, work, or idea— and exist in the consciousness of others. Only in that sense can it be said that the altverse is an “afterlife” which hammers in, once more, that the afterlife/altverse can only be actualized when we “live together or die alone.” After all, if no one can witness your consciousness (being alone), your conscious dies alone. If, however, there are many conscious’s aware of your consciousness then you live together. I think it would be safe, then, to say that everyone is each other’s “Constant.” This is why only the central characters, those who lived together, can be found in the church and not stand-alone characters. Therein lies the admittedly poetic ending, one that promotes the I that is We and the We that is I; an individual the becomes the World.

A possible rebuttal would be, “what was the bright light?” Well, besides being just a bright light, it could not be something supernatural. I can say that with confidence because if their afterlife- existence is dependent on each other (which it is), and they actually experience the light, the light, then, is the altverses version of the island’s Source (that which also is perceived as “the light”). Keep this in mind: seeing as how time is meaningless— since the past, present, and future are all arbitrary— life too is arbitrary since the Source is the cause of life, death, and rebirth. Hence, there is no life and death, only the process of becoming.

As a final thought, my interpretation of LOST’s afterlife is supported when Jack’s dad said that everyone in the church “has died or has yet to die; time here is meaningless.” Even if one dies in the past they are still remembered in the consciousness of someone in the present. And those who exist in the here-and-now will be remembered in the consciousness of the future, via Aaron and Jin’s daughter. So if a conscious exists in all of the past, present, and future, then time really does become meaningless and what actually exists is a “here-and-now consciousness” which can only be experienced by those who are, in fact, conscious. Fortunately, this avoids the crap ending of a supernatural/folksy afterlife and actually supports an intelligent ending wherein the afterlife is manifested as an interdependent consciousness (much like the phrase “the national consciousness”).

The end of LOST is no longer a quasi-religious copout; rather, it’s a testimony of the beautifully complex human narrative.

Dating "The End"

  • In the Lamp Post, the final launch window for the supply drops is given as "24-08-10." Assuming that it means August 24th, 2010, this implies that either the Island would cease moving through spacetime on this date or more likely, that PRD's were no longer necessary after the MiB was destroyed. Alternatively, it could simply mean that this was the cut-off date, upon which Ben approached Hector and Glen at the warehouse and informed them that their services were no longer required.

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