The Island is a weird place, full of ridiculous things, and bizarre occurrences. However, the "rules" thing just takes the biscuit for me. Life is just not like that. There are no intrinsic rules: societies, leaders, legislative bodies make rules, and rules can be circumvented, bent or broken. Even with gods, rules can be broken: "thou shalt have no other gods but me" = "Ok, other gods exist, but I'm warning you....don't worship them!"
However, in Lost, we have rules that just can't be broken. Like Michael can't kill himself, Only the leader can see Jacob. How? I know this is fantasy, but there has to be some sort of underpinning logic, and this idea must have come from somewhere.
The only places where laws cannot be broken are in logic, mathematics, and applied mathematics, physics & logical applications ("The Laws of the Universe"):
If Lost is a mathematical world, one possible explanation is that its universes exist within Max Tegmark's Ultimate Ensemble Theory (the Mathematical Universe Hypothesis), which states:
All structures that exist mathematically also exist physically. This is in the sense that "in those complex enough to contain self-aware substructures (SASs), these SASs will subjectively perceive themselves as existing in a physically 'real' world".
In other words, there exist worlds which are based on the laws of mathematics, but in which the entities must obey those laws. All such worlds actually exist. Tegmark has devised a thought experiment called Quantum Suicide. Basically the experimenter keeps on trying to commit suicide until he succeeds. Clearly, the outcome is that the experimenter will die or not die. However, in Tegmark's thought experiment, the consciousness of the experimenter automatically retreats to a world in which the he or she does not die. After many attempts, the consciousness has retreated to an obscure and highly improbable world. (e.g. Lost)
On the other hand, the rules of Lost could be embedded in a computer programme. This could be a game, but is most likely an Ancestor Simulation. In 2001, the Philosopher Nick Bostrom put forward a philosphical argument called The Simulation Hypothesis, in which he showed that either (1) No civilisation anywhere will ever produce any simulations indistinguishable from reality, OR (2) We are already living in such a simulation. (for full paper, see here ). Bostrom's argument is based upon the fact that future societies, if they have the capability, would want to run such simulations for all sorts of reasons: Counterfactual, or alternative history simulations, Predictive simulations, Education, Entertainment etc. Such simulations would need to be highly advanced and the computational ability to run such simulations is certainly well beyond current capability. One such scenario which theoretically provides the computational capability to run such simulations is Frank Tipler's Omega Point Theory. Tipler proposed that, at the end of the universe, at the 'big crunch', there is an "Omega Point", a supreme point of complexity and consciousness, which is not only the culimnation of the evolutionary process, but is also the actual cause for the universe to grow in complexity and consciousness in the first place (The ultimate Strange Loop. According to Tipler and Deutsch, an implication of this theory is that the Omega Point will, in itself, be the ultimate cosmic computer,
able to resurrect (via emulation) everyone who has ever lived, by simulating all possible quantum brain states within the master simulation. This will manifest itself as a simulated reality. From the perspective of its simulated inhabitants, the Omega Point is an infinite-duration afterlife, which could take any imaginable form due to its virtual nature.
There is clearly a similarity between these ideas, and Hugh Everett's Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, which underpins the notion of the Multiverse. David Deutch, in The Fabric of Reality gives one of the clearest descriptions of the Multiverse, and discusses possible connections between this idea, and the theory of Modal Realism, proposed by the philospher, David Lewis. To a large extent, Lewis's theory is similar to Tegmark's theory as described earlier, except that whereas Lewis proposes that all universes exist which are not actually self-contradictory, Tegmark's notion is that all universes exist which can be described mathematically. Deutsch claims that David Lewis is a "kindred spirit", and that Lewis "postulated the existence of a multiverse for philosophical reasons alone." In fact, Lewis's modal realism extends to worlds which are not physically possible, such as the Lostverse, whereas the parallel worlds in Deutsch's multiverse must all be physically possible, obeying the laws of physics. In addition, all worlds in the multiverse are governed by the same natural laws, whereas in Modal realism, the laws can be different in different possible worlds. Lewis's possible worlds are disjoint, whereas Deutsch's parallel worlds interact through quantum interference. However, Lewis does admit overlaps between worlds as a theoretical possibility. While Deutsch adheres to the notion that parallel worlds must obey the same physical laws, in one chapter of The Fabric of Reality, he proposes a device called a Universal Quantum Computer, a quantum equivalent of a Universal Turing Machine. Turing proposed his machine as a "theoretical" device which could simulate the working of all other digital computers, as a step on the wway to defining limits of computability. Although completely embedded in a physical reality, Deutsch's universal quantum computer could in theory render as simulations, indistinguishable from reality, any number of marginally different Lostverses to any desired degree of accuracy.
What is fundamentally clear, is that these ideas, and the "rules" embedded in Lost are there to signify that we are in at least one of these alternative worlds. Tegmark's notion of quantum suicide could well have applied right from the start: in order for all the cast to survive such an horrific crash, their consciousnesses needed to retreat to a "virtually impossible" world. As time has gone on, and we have followed the events of the survivors, as they have still survived above all the odds, the universe has got crazier and crazier, as events become less and less probable. Whether the basis for this universe is a fantasy, cooked up on Deutch's Quantum Computer, or whether we are at Tipler's Omega Point, at the end of the Universe, or whether the Show is One of Bostrom's Ancestor Simulations makes no odds; while the rules are arbitrary, they need to be consistent, and they exist in this universe because that's the Universe we have had to retreat to in order to survive this far.
The question is: How on earth can anyone escape from here?