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(Have a seat. Get comfortable. Grab a beer or something. This one's long, as usual.)
"The Island is like a force of nature akin to gravity - the 'unconscious' judge of time."
Well, turns out I was half right (that is, if my theory's correct at all).
I've been researching further, and have to add: the Island is not only the unconscious ruler of time, but of space. And, yes, I said ruler. Judge just doesn't cut it anymore. After rewatching "The Constant" and "The Other Woman" I was struck by a couple things, and so had to start Googling.
First, a big nerd moment: I paused the screen at the end of "The Constant" as Faraday's flipping through his journal, and noticed there are two diagrams which mention Imaginary Time and Imaginary Space. These are dimensions of actual space/time, which account for certain aspects of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. I'll try to explain, though I barely understand myself. I think I can manage to get close enough for the purposes of my theory. Apologies to any actual physicists who might be reading.
Think of an X axis and a Y axis. If X is Real Time, Y is Imaginary Space. Okay? When one moves in Real Time, things go forward when you move forward, and backward when you move backward, rather than being a constant forward progression. So time ceases to be a linear thing, and becomes one space, like a room. If one wishes to travel back in time, one just walks to the back of the room. There would be no actual movement in space, though, since one would only be moving in the two dimensions of time.
On the flipside, if X is Real Space, Y would then be Imaginary Time. So one could move in space back and forth without having any movement in time.
In order to move in both Real Time and Real Space, as we all do every day, one must move on the diagonal between the four dimensions of Real Time, Real Space, Imaginary Time and Imaginary Space. This is best illustrated in a diagram first used by the mathematician Hermann Minkowski.
(Yeah, THAT Minkowski. George's namesake. Just thought that was interesting.)
Okay, so in "The Other Woman" Harper appears as if from nowhere to confront Juliet. Soon after Jack shows up, Harper is gone. Where'd she go? And where'd she come from so quickly? Well, I can't say, but I do think I can tell you HOW she did it. She used the negatively charged exotic matter and electromagnetic energy to stabilize a wormhole (the Casimir Effect, anyone?) through Real Space and Imaginary Time, moving instantaneously from wherever she was to the place we saw her in the jungle, with Juliet, then vanished as quickly. Since she only moved in two dimensions, rather than on a diagonal between all four, she appeared then "seemed to disappear". Sound familiar?
But I haven't blown your mind yet. The Whispers come from these wormholes. Why do we hear Whispers when a wormhole is used? Well, I believe it's for two reasons. The first is because we're near an opening in Real Space and Imaginary Time. Since Imaginary Time has no linearity, but is a dimension of space, it is experienced as space. Thoughts, speech, etc. are all dimensions of space, as well. Miles experiences them this way, as well, when he "hears" the brainwaves of dead people. Second, since there's also a possible connection between brainwaves and electromagnetism, the use of this energy coupled with exotic matter necessary to stabilize the wormhole for instant travel might have the effect of a "leak" at the edge of the wormhole (akin to Hawking Radiation emitted from Black Holes, another type of singularity). So the Whispers are just the chaotic jumble of nonlinear time experienced in spacial dimensions coupled with the electromagnetic brainwave afterimages spilling through the opening in dimensions!
Confused yet? If it's true they'll explain it much more simply, I'm sure.
Some of this could also account for why the Others don't move when the time flashes start. If they are one with the Island, they exist in and can move through all four dimensions of time and space. After all, only fools are slaves of these things!
Now, why would all this be possible on the Island? And why is something like an Island the force of nature which rules time and space? I think it may be that the Island is the place where all four dimensions intersect. It is the center of space/time. In a sense, this is the reason it exists within all time periods at once, but also doesn't; why it can move anywhere on the planet it wants, but is also nearly impossible to locate. It is simultaneously in all four dimensions at once and in each of them separately from the others.
So the Island is like the Dreamtime (as pointed out to me in my last post on this subject by Aunt Hershey) from Australian Aboriginal lore, since it exists in Imaginary Space and Real Time, the two dimensions which freeze all moments like a slide show. "Australia is the key..."
Finally, could this be a clue about the nature of Jacob and MiB? Perhaps the two sides are Time and Space, rather than Good and Evil, Life and Death, etc.? It might seem trivial. But it could explain why Richard doesn't age. Perhaps Jacob, as the representation of Real Time and Imaginary Space (for the sake of argument), made Richard able to live only in those two dimensions. And it could explain why MiB, as representative of Real Space and Imaginary Time, can change his "shape" - his "space", if you will - because he only moves in these two dimensions.
Maybe the struggle between these two is they don't respect the opposite of their dimensionality. Jacob is fighting for Time, while MiB is fighting for Space. Hence Jacob's talk of progress, and MiB's complete lack of care for the idea.
As always, this is a work in progress. I'll amend as I continue my rewatch, finding more information in the dusty corners of the the online world and beyond. Any thoughts are welcomed and appreciated.