Jacob and the Illusion of "Choice"

On the island, Jacob is god.

Make no bones about it. He is either immortal or has lived a very long time, he can see into the past; he can probably travel into the futuire, he can cause diseases, he can cure sicknesses, he can do 'miracles'. He has followers who hang on his every word. He sits alone and aloof, and makes plans for his people.By any sensible definition of the word, Jacob is a god.

However, Jacob not only tells you that you have free choice, he wants you to exercise it. But this is a dangerous illusion.

Let's take the case of Ben. Ben comes to the island (We are led to believe that no-one comes; they are "brought"). Already he was wanting to join Team Jacob. However, he is shot by Sayid because of what he became later in life - a complete irony, given what we have seen in Season 6. At the time he was shot, he had done nothing except want to know about the life of 'the others' - Team Jacob. He is then taken in by the others, who save his life, and 'alter' him using the power of Jacob. Later on, and after this event, he is persuaded into killing his father as part of the Dharma purge. We know little about this, but it is clear from other statements from Richard that Jacob had ordered such mass killings in the past. The point is here, not whether it was good or bad, killing his father was done in the name of Jacob. Ben is instructed, by Widmore, that he should kill Alex, Danielle's baby. However, Ben here exercised free choice. He did NOT do as he was bidden (NOTE this). In all other things, Ben carried out the wishes of Jacob, and all of his schemes were to protect the island in one way or another. The kidnapping of Claire, the lying and cheating; all were there for the greater good of the island, and because he thought that was what Jacob wanted.

Ben was convinced that the island or Jacob would protect Alex, and she would not be killed. But he was wrong. Why did he think that? He thought it because he had seen people cured from disease, Richard not ageing and some unimagineable things like the smoke monster. He was convinced that if he served the island, it would serve him. He thought he had a deal:- he gives his life in the service of the island, an in turn the thing he cares about is protected. That was clearly NOT true, but it is true that Ben thought it, and you can see why. Surrounded by people who love & fear Jacob, surrounded everyday by 'miracles', who would not believe?

If Jacob were an absentee landlord, then you might very well say that it's all in Ben's head. However Jacob is definitely NOT an absentee alndlord. He does cure people's cancer, and he is able to cure Juliet's sister's disease. He gives lists to Richard and Ben of people he needs, and he goes and visits people off island, saving lives, giving gifts and 'nudging them' to do things. Ben knows much of this, and he also knows much of the island's secrets.

When Ben let Alex die, what choice exactly did Ben have? If it were a real choice, you could accept that in identical circumstances it would have been possible for Ben to make a different decision. However, identical circumstances there is no way that Ben would have made a different decision. He could only have made a different decision if he had suspected for one nanosecond that Alex might die; but he didn't, and every time that scene plays out, the end is still the same. Alex died because Ben believed Jacob would protect her, but Jacob didn't. In the statue, does Ben actually have a choice not to Kill Jacob? I would contend no. Ben and MiB have given a catalogue of reasons why Ben should kill Jacob. Ben being the Ben he is, was the final nail in Jacob's coffin. No choice was involved. Once Ben & Locke sarted their walk, the end result was inevitable. Did Ben then have a choice whether he should become the ben in the OT? or could he have been more like the Ben in the FST? Again, no he did not have a choice it was doing the bidding of Jacob actually produced the Ben that we saw in S1-5. The one and only time Ben had a choice was a very very long time earlier. He chose not to kill Danielle. If he had killed her at that point, then there would have been no Alex to care about, and Jacob would not be dead.

Jacob is dead precisely because of Jacob, not because of Ben. All Ben's choices had been systematically removed by Jacob throughout his life. What we are left with at the end, is an empty shell of a man, and a hypocrite of a god, who in his death throes has the complete and utter gall to lay the responsibility for his own death on the one man who has tried his utmost to serve him faithfully throughout his whole life. At this point, we should have nothing but contempt for Jacob, and reject his illusion of choice with the disdain it deserves.

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