We know from Lost's mythology what the numbers are and why they are so important to the overall plot, and I think that soon we'll see that all the events we've witnessed from the very beginning (past and present, maybe even future?) is a conspiracy involving characters such as Linus, Widmore, Hawking, Abbadon, etc. to try to change the outcome of the Valenzetti Equation. From what we've seen thus far I'm guessing it's Ben who has the best interests of the island at heart and Widmore has his own interests at heart, although I don't agree with the theory that he's out to exploit it for personal gain. More logical is that he wants the result of the changed equation to affect the whole world, not just the island or other points on the 'energy grid'. I belive Ben wants to keep the island secret so that he can create his own little utopia that's shielded by the island's possible invulnerability, keeping the island's original inhabitants, and it's mysteries, safe from corruption from the outside world. In this scenario, our losties probably are pieces in a chess game between the two, but there purpose is ultimately meaningful if they are in the slow, confusing proccess of changing the equation.