Sawyers' age when his parents died; possible implications

There appears to be some discrepancy about Sawyers' age in the FST & OT

In The Incident, Part 2, OT Sawyer tells Jack that his parents were conned by Cooper in 1976, when he was 8 years old:

SAWYER: My folks died when I was 8 years old. I ever tell you that?


SAWYER: Con man took my dad for everything he had. He didn't deal with it very well. He shot my mom, then he blew his own head off. I was hiding under the bed when it happened. I heard the whole thing.

JACK: I'm sorry.

SAWYER: Yeah. That was a year ago.

JACK: What?

SAWYER: Right now it's July 1977, which means that happened last year. So I could've hopped on the sub, gone back to the States, walked right in my house and stopped my daddy from killing anybody.

The Incident, Parts 1 & 2 transcript

However, in Recon FS Sawyer is on the phone:

Back in the police station, Detective James Ford is calling a list of men named Anthony Cooper. As he rings one, pretending to be handling missing property case and asking whether the man was in Alabama in 1976


Later on in Recon, Sawyer & Miles talk in the car:

SAWYER: When I was nine years old my father shot my mother, then he killed himself. Sawyer was the reason why. He was a grifter...con man. I've been hunting him down since the day I left the academy. I chased down a lead in Australia, got a name - Anthony Cooper - I ran the name, I got a list of Anthony Coopers and I've been calling them. And when I find the right one...I'm gonna kill him.

Recon transcript

This clearly places the OT and FST incidents in 1976, and the discrepancy lies in Sawyers' age (OT=8, FST=9).

There are two possibilities:

  • It is a blooper
  • It is not a blooper and is deliberate.

Normally, by this stage, bloopers have been noted and people have held up their hands. However, so far no-one has done this, and so it might be useful to consider the implications of it not being a blooper, and it actually being deliberate.

If it is deliberate, then we are asked to believe that Sawyer can be one year older in one timeline, and yet be "effectively" the same person, even though one Sawyer (FST) was conceived one year prior to the other Sawyer (OT). Now, I have written elsewhere attempting to calculate the odds on such an event happening. Suffice to say the odds are so astronomical, that the odds on someone playing the lottery with THE Numbers every day of their life, and winning every single day, are powers of ten higher than the odds of the two Sawyers being identical (eggs, sperms, DNA. all that stuff). This means that we are presented with a storyline contains an event which is a virtual impossibility (I would even go as far as to say that if this is taken at face value, then it is just about the most preposterous and unbelievable premise in the whole of literature). If we are to continue to have trust in the writers' judgements, then we must believe that this a signal that we should not take these events on face value. In other words, there is something "not quite right" either with the FST or the OT or both.

Many people have proposed a theory that 1977 caused 'retrospective changes to the timeline'; however such an argument is not relevant here. Any theory which admits as to why Sawyer could be born in 1967 e(FST), and 1968 (OT) would have to account for why the same sperm & egg managed to get together. Other explanations along the lines of "course correction" or "Sawyer needs to be born", produce a universe which is "not quite right" (in my terms above). Such a universe then becomes one in which Sawyer MUST be born, because Sawyer is so essential to the timeline, that the universe twists on its own tail, and defies the largest probability odds imaginable to ensure that this occurs.

If we are suppose that the universes in the timelines are "real", in other words, events in them are intended to be taken at face value (i.e we do not expect Harry Potter to come round the corner waving a wand), then we are allowed to question their philospophical view of reality. A Universe which goes out of its way to ensure that something exists, even though that event is of extreme unlikelihood, places us firmly in the territory of the argument used to explain why the Universe itself is such an improbable event: the so-called Anthropic Principle. This theory basically says that the only reason we can ask the question of why the universe exists when it is so unlikely, is that we are here it ask the question in the first place, and since we are here, that is what must have happened, despite the odds.

The philosopher Nick Bostrom has written extensively on such stuff. The Anthropic principle is a 'self-locating belief', and allows the observer to explain the universe in their own terms. This clearly requires that the observer already exists; the explanation of their existence can often turn out to be teleological, i.e. that the entire purpose of the universe existing is to arrive at them being there, at that moment in time. This is clearly where we have arrived with Sawyer. However, according to the Anthropic Principle, we as observers cannot make judgement calls about Sawyer needing to exist; only Sawyer can do that. He invokes the requirement by his own existence.

What then, does this mean? There can only be one explanation here: there is an original version of 'reality' in which Sawyer has existed/does exist/will continue to exist. This may be the OT, it may be FST, it may be neither. By invoking Sawyers' existence in that universe whatever it is, Sawyer then becomes his own observer, demanding that he exists in all universes which are linked. The explanation of why he exists in all timelines, is that at some point in these timelines, Sawyer is looking (or looked) back across all these histories, 'pulling together the threads' of his own existence.

Given that we have not seen such a pulling together, then this event must be in the future. The consequence of this, then, is that Sawyer MUST survive whatever LOST has to throw at him, and at some point, in the future of both timelines, a 'merge' will take place. Sawyer, must survive that merge, and go through beyond it.

Either that, or the producers really have made a blooper.

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