Hi all! This is my first blog post, and it's an attempt to get some things straight in my mind. I see a lot of theories on here with different explanations of why the dead are manifesting and what their goals are. This post attempts to provide two categories of classification to resolve some of the confusion I see in theories. Most of these ideas are not new, but I'm trying to lay them out in a coherent way that may provide some insight into what's going on. Here we go:
1) Smoke Monster Manifestations
The Smoke Monster (aka Jacob's Nemesis) can physically manifest as someone who has died. It must be a person whose body is on the island, and it can somehow use the memories of that body. It directly controls the manifestation. This is why Jacob spoke to MIB and Flocke as if they were the same person. The Monster can only manifest as one thing at a time. Examples of this include: Flocke, MIB, Yemi, and Alex.
2a) Persistent Projections
All those who die on the island exist in spirit to some degree. Special people are able to manifest extremely strongly on the island after death. Their bodies disappear entirely after death. They are somehow tied to the island and Jacob, and try to act in the interest of the island. They are independent manifestations and have a physical presence, but their ability to perform actions is limited in some ways (e.g., Christian couldn't help Locke get to the wheel). Christian is an example of this class of being, and Claire may be as well (I think she died in the rocket attack and was replaced by her ghost - this explains why she wandered off and left Aaron). Christian attempts to provide good guidance with the interest of the island in mind (although he makes some mistakes because he is fooled by Flocke's manipulations). Claire lurks in the shadows, but does make an appearance to Kate.
Walt may be an extremely special example of this class - not only is he able to project himself, but he can do so while still alive, which gives him the capabilities of a ghost while he still has free will. It may also be interesting to consider whether Richard is a ghost in this class, which could explain his agelessness.
2b) More limited manifestations of ghosts
Other ghosts exist, but are typically much weaker than Christian. The whispers are all ghosts (which seems pretty obvious if one reads the transcripts). Some characters are much more sensitive to perceiving ghosts, so they tend to appear to them (Hurley is the prime example). The island ghosts also manifest in limited one-off ways to act as guides, such as Ben seeing his mother, Michael seeing Libby, Kate seeing the horse, and Locke seeing Horace. If someone is less perceptive but still special, the less powerful ghosts take an easier method by appearing to them in their dreams of visions (e.g., Locke, Claire, and Charlie). Widmore mentioned nightmares to Ben in a way that implied they both have dream visions, and Walt has also mentioned having visionary dreams. Miles is also extremely receptive, but to ALL dead, and seems to experience something like the whispers but in a way that he can hear them properly.
Major ramifications of this classification approach:
- Most ghosts are NOT the Smoke Monster in disguise. I see a lot of theories on here that attribute anything having to do with the deceased as having to do with the Monster, and I think that's wrong.
- Any ghost that isn't the Smoke Monster is a ghost that may be trying to act on the island and/or Jacob's behalf, but isn't Jacob himself. I see many theories on here about Jacob manifesting as some of the ghosts, and I think that's wrong.
- Specialness on the island is intimately connected with how powerful a person would be as a ghost, and also how perceptive they are of ghosts.
I'd be curious to hear opposing thoughts, or anything that reinforces this!