relation between desmonds flashes during earlier seasons and now

im finding myself having a bit of a hard time understanding all these different sorts of time flashes desmond has had (remember the ones in "flashes before your eyes" or "the constant"). are these in any kind related or even the same that the losties are experiencing now (even though they are not actually noticing them). wouldnt it be great if the alternate timeline has always existed, but it was only desmond that we have seen switching between both?

i hope im getting across what i mean, sorry if i explained it a bit complicatedly, english is not my first language

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