In asking the question, "what would happen if someone destroys the FDW", I have come to an interesting conclusion. However, in order to get to there, you need to follow some rather tortuous logic about time-travelling.
In order to make sense of the time travelling seen in Lost, and the status of the FDW we need some groundrules:
- The Lost Island has a coherent Island History, which can be told from the viewpoint of an island resident e.g. Richard, Jacob or MiB, stretching back from at least 1867 to 2007, and can be laid out in sequence. This sequence of events is effectively governed by WHH and cannot be changed.
- There is a separate story to be told, that of the Losties who crashed on O815, and it is their story we have been following. In their sequence of events, some events which occur in the Island History occur before others (eg for Sawyer, the O815 plane crash in 2004, occurs prior to the Incident in 1977). Clearly for different people, there may be different events, but for any person who has time-travelled, we can piece together an overarching story which sits on top of the Island History. This story is called the time-travelling metanarrative, and the flow of time in this metanarrative is quite separate to that of the Island History timeline.
- When Ben turned the FDW in 2004, the result for the metanarrative was that the Losties began randomly jumping around and did not stop until Locke turned the wheel again in 1867. It dod not appear to have any effect on the Island History, nor on the Others who were on the island. Now, within the metanarrative, this sequence makes sense: Ben turning the wheel in 2004 caused the jumps, and Locke turning the wheel in 1867 stopped the jumps. However, in terms of the Island History, and those living on it, these events make no sense whatsoever: In 1867, Locke appears, then turns the wheel. In 2004, Ben knocks the wheel off its axis, and forever after the wheel is off its axis, because there is no event in the Island History after 2004 which subsequently corrects this.
Clearly this implies that events in the FDW chamber are not part of Island History timeline; rather they change the island timeline in some way, or its relationship to mainland time or space, and the FDW therefore does not exist in the same portion of spacetime as the rest of the island. Turning the FDW makes the island 'disappear' from the viewpoint of those on the mainland, or just outside the island's compass. Whether this disappearance because the island moved in space and time, or just in space, is impossible to say. However, given the argument above, that the FDW changes some aspect of the Island timeline, it seems likely that the Island is then repositioned in Spacetime.
If the FDW chamber is not part of the timeline, it must exist in a separate 'spacetime bubble' from the island, which would account for why Locke was able to enter the FDW in 1867 after Ben vacated it in 2004, with the wheel still off its axis. In other words, the FDW chamber timeline follows the metanarrative of Lost, and exists within the its timeframe.
One further issue, which now should be considered is that in the metanarrative, three years pass for Sawyer et.al, in Dharma times, and three years pass for the O6; this means that the Losties' metanarrative is consistently keeping pace with off-island time. This must also mean that if the time in the FDW 'bubble' is the same as the metanarrative time, then the FDW time appears to be the same as off-island time.
However, this creates an anomaly. When Ben enters the chamber, and turns the wheel, he exits in 2004/5; When Locke turns the wheel (in the metanarrative time, only a few days later), he ends up in 2007, and some three years have passed.
Clearly, although we have seen a consistent exit point in Tunisia (Ben, Locke and Polar bears), the exit time is neither consistent with island time, nor the metanarrative time, nor the FDW bubble time. This has effectively given Locke his own unique 'Locke Time' in the whole universe. (Basically he is three years younger than he would have been had he left the island with jack in 2004 and returned in 2007)
A few Questions:
- Since the FDW appears to be so closely tied to the Lost Metanarrative, what happened at the beginning of "time"? In other words, the FDW chamber was created at some point; prior to that it did not exist, and prior to that the FDW bubble of time did not exist either. That point effectively marks the start of the Lost story, the metanarrative. Was this the act that brought an 'alternative universe' into existence? In other words, was the OT universe which the wheel turner 'exits to' a fabrication caused by the very existence of the FDW? If so, Jacob's mother came from a "real" universe, whereas the people that Jacvob brings all come from the 'fabricated' OT metanarrative universe.
- Did anyone turn the FDW at any point prior to Ben turning the wheel, and if so, what happened in terms of the metanarrative? In particular, Dharma clearly found the FDW, and clearly sent Polar Bears through. They also must have entered the FDW chamber. At what point in the metanarrative were Dharma in the chamber?
- If someone now enters the FDW Chamber from the 2007 Losties, when exactly will they arrive in it? If it is Jack, for example, in terms of the metanarrative, he is 2007 Jack; however, MiB as Locke is actually (see above) 2004/5 Locke (because he 'lost' 3 years when he turned the FDW). This should mean that if Locke enters the FDW he arrives in the FDW in 2004/5, but if Jack enters, he will arrive in 2007.
- Finally, and most importantly, What happens if someone destroys the FDW? Will the destruction of the FDW time bubble also cause the OT Universe to cease to exist? Presumably destroying the FDW will cause the island to be destroyed, as its 'raison d'etre', its 'source' is now gone.
Please note, I am not speculating on how the FDW works, or anything else, I am simply attempting to follow through all the logic of the jumps etc, and the consequences of what might happen if someone now enters the FDW.
Thinking through the logic of this has led to the conclusion that the destruction of the FDW should be the 'end' of the Island, the end of the OT, and the end of the Lost Story, although possibly not the 'source'. I am concinced that the FDW must have a part to play in the last 3 eps, and this seems to make sense to me, although I am not sure I like the idea very much.