Once upon a time, a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, there was an INCIDENT. This mysterious incident created an over population of all-knowing spirit-like entities which came to be called Thetans. In an effort to reduce their numbers, thousands of them were placed around a VOLCANO and NUKED, but OTHERS fled to earth and found human hosts. It wasn't a good fit though as the hosts' traumas damaged the Thetans and lessened their GOD-LIKE abilities to control matter, energy, space, time, thought, and life. Some began to cause harm, while others grew bored until they developed their single most important desire -- to have a GAME. Since surprise is required for games to be fun, Thetans had to suppress certain perceptions or knowledge; over time this loss of perception accumulated and the god-like abilities got LOST. However, a process called auditing can clear the Thetan of its human trauma, increase its psychic/tele-kenetic powers, and allow for object manifestation (like from a magic box).
When the human host dies, the Thetan abandons its physical body, goes to a landing station on Venus where it is reimplanted, and then gets sent to a CAPSULE DUMP off the coast in California. If it can get out of that, it wanders around looking for a pregnant girl or a maternity ward so it can find a baby as its next host. Thetans are believed to be reborn time and again through a process called assumption, analagous to REINCARNATION. With each rebirth, the effects of the universe on the Thetan become stronger until it masters all matter, energy, SPACE, and TIME.
Okay, you can stop suspending your disbelief now because what I've just given you is the super condensed version of Scientology, religion of Tom Cruise, the cousin of William Mapother (& sister Amy) and good friend of Lost's J.J. Abrams. (Did Ethan have a Thetan?) While some people call the religion "Science gone wrong," like the Dharma Initiative, Scientologists refer to themselves as THE GOOD GUYS who will save the planet (island?). There are actually some courses in Scientology that use Lewis Carroll's book ALICE IN WONDERLAND as an aid in the lesson, and in study tapes, founder L. Ron Hubbard speaks about Dharma. Conversely, Lost's Dharma has a scientist on video tape hidden in a hollowed Bible. Are all these things clues, coincidence, red herrings, or just for fun? You be the judge. Thanks for playing along. HURRY FEBRUARY 2!!!