Friday, February 26, 2010

Spoiler Alert: We All Die in the End

In a few days, it will be the twelfth anniversary of my dad's death. I have experienced my share of death in my day between my aunts and uncles, friends and acquaintances. Death is one of those subjects that is fascinating to me as I observe it in the North American context. I mean, I guess some of these observations may apply to the rest of the world, but I have not been to the rest of the world, so I feel I should qualify it.

The first is the curious reaction of Christians to death. In particular, reaction to other Christian's deaths. It seems as though when people mourn, it is expressed in such a way that seems like it is a permanent separation. That once a person dies, you will never find that person again, because I suppose they believe heaven's probably going to be some sort of ginormous city with one of the worst transit systems in the metaphysical realm. It is such a solemn time. I get that you want to respect some one who has died (I really try avoid those gussied up terms like "passing on" or "crossed over" or what have you. Unless I'm talking to someone in mourning, then I use them so I won't be a dink). But it seems like it should be a time to reflect on who that person was and what they brought to the experience of the community. What could you learn from their life? And not just the positive things. The negative things, too. This was a person and you can learn from their story just like we can learn from anyone's story. I like the idea of an Irish wake. One where you sit around and tell stories about the person. It's not so focused on what is missing, but instead what was had.

Death is something that people tend to forget as a part of our journey. That it is an inevitability that all must experience. Noticed how I avoided terms like "face" or "endure" or "conquer". Death is not our enemy. Death is not even an entity. It is the conclusion to a story and that is all. It is like the last piece of the puzzle that gets put into place.

The other weird thing about death in North America is how it highlights how vapid and self-centered people are and how much people actually do not respect life and other living beings. I am specifically thinking of what happened in the wake of Michael Jackson's death. Before his death, he was the favourite target of most comedians, late night show hosts, and even jokes amongst the buddies. People laughed at his choices, his struggles, his pain and his identity. They harassed him and disrespected him to be beneath themselves. The strange thing is, he dies and suddenly he was everyone's inspiration and a cultural hero. Where was that when he was alive?

Suddenly, it was fashionable to buy his old music and to say how you loved his music. But while he was alive it was perfectly fine to make fun of his struggles and problems and pain. That's fair game.

If you are always teasing or making fun of the one you claim to respect, but never say anything encouraging, did you ever really respect them? I see it all the time when couples or friends tease each other, but they never seem to balance it off with something positive. If all you hear is negativity (even in jest because you actually do like them) then it is bound to rub off on you.

Death is treated with such misunderstanding in our culture that it actually hinders some peoples' lives. They avoid adventure and risk or they only see a ticking clock and thus they need to push as much happiness and pleasure in as possible. They don't have time to grow, they're running out of time! I need money and success now! What is a life without everything I want? 'Cause death is a comin' and I'm looting this place as much as I can before I get out of here and I don't care how many old people and children I have to trample to get out. They will take away the lives of others to preserve their own. It's such a strange road we walk and such strange people we walk with.

I try to approach each death that comes across in my life and try to use it as an opportunity to learn about life. When dad died, I learned how much I had structured my life and goals around him and how I needed to be careful in my own decisions, because time can slip away on you. I learned from the deaths of past acquaintances, how important it is to be living your life and not wasting it. Death is not the tragedy, but living a long, hollow life is.

I don't want to say that we should live recklessly because death doesn't mean anything, but rather coming to the understanding that is a necessity. What is worse? A story that comes to a conclusion or a story that never ends? Some people fear death because they do not want to face punishment and pain. I am afraid of death because I may go living forever.

I know so many Christians who cannot stand the tough times in life and so they are so heaven-focused that they lose their footing on earth. They cannot wait to get to heaven and live in peace and unending joy. They forgot that Jesus taught us to pray, "Thy Kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven". We're supposed to be living in peace and unending joy here. And you can do that. It's an attitude, not an environment.

I, on the other hand, am afraid of forever. From my limited human perspective, I cannot conceive of anything that would be good forever. I mean, yes God is good and He has been and will be good forever, but I see no point in existing forever as a human. Even if God was to open my mind and allow me to become infinitely wise and intelligent, then He is tinkering with what He made in a way similar to how George Lucas tinkered with the Star Wars movies and turned them into something they weren't by trying to make it better. However, I will submit that He may very well have something that I cannot possible imagine and I will be eating crow when I get to heaven. Crow I will very happily eat I'm sure. But if it turns out that the best ending is that I come to the end of my life and get to lie in my grave until I turn into dust, I will be content because I have already lived the best I could.

"Oh, and if I die
Before my time
Oh, sweet sister of mine
Please don't regret me if I die

Bartender, please
Fill my glass for me
With the wine you gave Jesus that set him free
After three days in the ground."
- "Bartender" by the Dave Matthews Band from their album Busted Stuff

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lost in Thought: "Lighthouse"

Spoilers are following for those who have not seen the Season 6 episode of Lost that aired on February 24th.

I will start off this post by getting ahead of myself a little bit (a tactic that Lost likes to use, so I feel it is appropriate) and say that next week's episode I believe will be a very important one with the fact that they did not even create much of a teaser for it and the fact that we now know that Locke is on his way to the Temple. It seems like the whole plan for Jacob was to ensure that none of the candidates that have not been corrupted yet are not at the Temple. There has to be a better way to say that. I don't care, I just need to get this out.

I am not surprised that Jack and Hurley have come across the caves and once again opens up the question of who are the two bodies in the caves. Currently, I am still sticking with Jack and Kate.

The introduction of David is an interesting thing because he only exists in the no-island timeline. I guess that could theoretically be possible with the fact that if things had turned out differently that consequences would be different. It was just that I was under the assumption that if something happened in the one timeline, that it will occur in the other one. For instance that Charlie with eventually die or that Locke will regain the ability to walk. However, it's starting to now seem that the two timelines are similar to each other, but can be much different from the other and not just cosmetically different. Also names have been always been significant in this show and generally a TV show does not just repeat a name even if it's a common name. Now I can think of think of three other instances of the name. Hurley's dad's name is Dave, his imaginary friend was Dave, and Libby's ex-husband was Dave. Is there a connection between these characters? Not directly. I think the connection might be a little more vague. There's a good chance that it's a red herring, however. Know what? I don't care anymore about this one. We need more info and after this I would just be making up connections.

I was talking with Brad and he made a note about the mirror and I think he may be onto something. He said that what if the whispers came from the person or people watching them on from the Lighthouse. As we saw, the mirrors's angles are assigned to different people and if you can spy on the different people, it may mean you can be heard on the other side. Thus the whispers. The thing was that there were mirrors there and if the one mirror was showing Jack's house that he grew up in, it may be actually pointed at where Jack was in the flashsideways because he was there helping his mom find the will of Christian. Perhaps the mirrors can see both versions of reality.

I feel I don't really need to speak to the situation with Jin and Claire. It seemed pretty straightforward. Claire is associated with the monster and Jin is being brought along for the ride. The monster is going to the Temple and mess some people up, maybe take over something. Maybe take Sayid as his own.

I guess it turns out that 108 belongs to someone named "Wallace". Not Kate like I was imagining. Oh well.

Hey, this is an interesting thought. Jack is the only one in the flashsideways so far that has indications of his time on the island. He seems to not remember things earlier in his life like his appendectomy. He was also the one that was way out in the middle of the jungle in the pilot by himself which was always a little strange. He had claimed at the time that he had passed out when the plane was going down and never saw it crashed. I am wondering if there are special circumstances surrounding Jack and the two timelines. I do not have a complete thought here yet...

See people might assume that I some great insight into the show of Lost and then when they finally catch up to me in watching the episodes, they realize, "oh, wait, it's just because he has watched everything."

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Don't Skip to the End!

I was talking to this guy that I had met on the bus because he had a book on fasting and decided that I might as well start a conversation. It's an old trick I learned at Roger's. One of the best way to approach a customer is to ask about what they have in their hand and if they have a movie you like, then you can enlighten them with what you like about it and go from there about what other movies they might like or what have you. Anyway, so I was asking him about fasting and why it interested him and one of the things he said was "so that I can know how to pray more effectively and get what I want." I thought that was interesting but I didn't follow up on it. In hindsight, I wish I would have.

Long gone are the days for me where I ask God for anything specific anymore. Not that I lack faith that He can do it, so much as I lack the belief that He would do it. In the past, I was one of like that guy on the bus and would ask God to give me things that I wanted and even needed. There was a couple of times when things came through for me and it was great, but it was through people that it happened.

I came to the realization that a lot of the times when God works miracles, it is through His people. God didn't magically print out more money to deliver to my mailbox, it was through the generosity and the intuition of one of His people. Now, of course, yes, you can attribute that to God and ultimately it is because He has laid out for us in His Word that we should live in such a way that is generous. I think one of the things that people overlook or maybe realize but wish wasn't true is that we have a big part in the work of God. This may seem to contradict what I have said earlier about me believing that people are not particularly special as individuals, but it does not contradict it because the work of God is not reserved for the few who receive some grand call on their lives or who have been given special gifts or talents. Instead, despite how distasteful it is to take time and resources to reach out and help others that is what it means to live a godly life. One that holds loosely onto their possessions so that all can pursue a life of good. One of the things I really liked about the movie "Evan Almighty" is the message of "be the miracle". We wait for God to change our circumstances and a lot of the times our circumstances will change if we are just willing to do it. We just don't because it's hard or painful or we're lazy.

I think that's why for me, I don't like to pray for something specific, because when I do, I am assuming what I really need. I am looking for the easy way out. Can you give me more money? Will you please heal me? Can you make "Jersey Shore" go away now? However, what I have learned from living here in North America is that when you are given whatever you want or things always go your way, you have been given a shallow life. A life that only knows one dimension. A life that revolves around being happy does not know what to do when bad times finally come.

When God offered to give Solomon anything he desired in the world, he did not ask for riches or love or good health. He asked for wisdom. It is the only story I know where God opens it up and says "you can have anything and I will give it to you" and the guy chooses wisdom? God is pleased with Solomon's answer and in return gives him wisdom along with riches and things people would normally want. People are short-sighted sometimes because we think the ends is the most important part and it's not. The means in which in we get there is. People want the riches, not the hard work or discipline to get there. People want the answers to Lost, but don't want to watch six seasons of the show in order to find out. People think that the life of a good person is all about heaven, not the path that leads you there. Life is about building yourself up so that you can weather the tough times and still be able to reach out to those around you and bless them.

That's why when I pray, I try to avoid using phrases where I am asking for things, but rather for understanding in order to navigate the problems. I try to ask for awareness of possible solutions. I pray for intuition. I pray for courage to make the right choice. I pray for the will to actually do what I have to do. I pray for peace so that I can be ready for what is to come. I pray for compassion so that I don't forget about others and what I can do for them. I pray that I can trust that things will work out for the best. Of course, I also pray that if God or one of His people can help me out in a tangible way, please help because it's tough to sometimes do everything yourself.

Sometimes the answer is easy and sometimes the solution will just swoop in from nowhere, but I don't think it is fair to expect that from God. It would cheapen our experience just like it would cheapen my experience if Damon Lindeloff and Carlton Cuse tells me what's the deal with that stupid island. The thing is, the perfect solution for the problem at hand might be one that we hate, but it is the one we must face in order to become better people. It's not because God can't or won't but rather that we need to step up to the plate as both individuals and as a people and become what we need to be.

I think some people hang on the metaphor of God being a king. The person you'd go to if you had a problem and ask for the resources to help you out and it is kind of a business deal. However, it may be appropriate to kind of see prayer as an audience with a wise man. Some one to talk about life with and talk about where it's going. Taking time to reflect on the good things that are happening to help give perspective. It's an opportunity to bounce ideas and share frustrations with and it's an opportunity to pause the world and realize that the solution was perhaps with you the whole time.

"I can only see half of what's going on
But I'm alright cause I can still smile
I can still smile."
- "Smile" from Wide Mouth Mason's album "Stew"

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lost in Thought: "The Substitute"

Wow, that episode was fantastic. They have unloaded a lot of information and it's going to be a lot to dig through. I think I might just take some highlights and make a few comments.

Let's start with the idea of the numbers. I'll be honest, I really did not expect any more from the numbers. I kind of figured that they were random numbers picked arbitrarily to connect to the Valenzetti equation and then used for the computer. However, after this episode, now I have to reexamine my thought on that. I mean, I think the writers picked the numbers at random, but the function of the numbers in the story was always intentional. People who are brought to the island were assigned numbers (I am going to say at random) and as Jacob was determining who would be the best candidates, the six numbers assigned to the individuals started to take on importance. That's why they were broadcast from the radio station.

This leads me to the next idea about the candidates in general. One thing that jumped out to me was that all of them (with the possible exception of "Kwon") are male (which leads me to believe it is supposed to be "Jin"). Now, I think this is significant because I think we might find that there is going to be a female counterpart. Maybe that list is elsewhere or the female is selected in a different way, but I am wondering if that the candidate and the female counterpart have a special role to play. What I am referring to is that they may wind up becoming "Adam" and "Eve" that were the two bodies found in the caves by Jack and Kate way back in Season 1. Remember that? Does anybody remember that? Remember that there were two stones found in the pocket of the male and that Jack took them and put them in his pocket. What we may have is the same weird thing that happened with Locke's compass where Locke gave the compass to Richard so that Richard can give it to Locke and thus creating this strange loop. It could be that those two stones could be in the similar loop. Jack takes the stones from the body and then later Jack dies and becomes that dead body. Which would be interesting in that the black and white stones represent the struggle between good and evil and the statement from that could be that there is no beginning and no end to the struggle between good and evil. As long as there is people, that is the eternal struggle. Man, that sounds kind of smart. Heck, even if this gets proven wrong, I'm still going stick with it. Now, since Jack is still one of the candidates and arguably the actual protagonist of the show and has fought so hard against the idea of having a destiny and how his character has slowly evolved over the course of the show, it would be fitting that his character finds his destiny as the candidate. He once believed he was there by coincidence and has taken on the idea that he is supposed to be there. So who would be "Eve"? I think you know where I'm going with this one. It would be so fitting that Jack and Kate, who originally found the bodies together, become the bodies together. I mean, there were no other characters present when they first discovered the bodies and I think that may have been intentional. Although, they may tease the Jack-Kate-Sawyer triangle or possibly the Jack-Kate-Sawyer-Ghost Juliet rhombus, ultimately we are going to see Sawyer go to the dark side or at the very least not be with Kate. There has been much more emphasis on the Jack-Kate aspect and the writers of the show really like to make certain statements a foreshadow of what's to come even if it's not apparent at the time it was said. In this case, the line that Kate says in Season 5 when Jack asks Kate to be on his side when he presents the idea of the Oceanic 6's deception, "I've always been on your side." I think you really are going to see that through in this case. I think you're going to see Jack step into the role of the new Jacob.

I suppose that it is also very likely that the candidate is not Jack, but Jack and Kate still become Adam and Eve and it all makes sense. I was just riffing on the whole candidates are all males thing.

Anyway, other interesting thing was the kid that Sawyer and Locke saw in the jungle and warned Locke about following the rules. The rule probably was that Locke is not allowed to kill the candidates (other people are fair game). That kid could have been an incarnation of Jacob and maybe children are special to the island for that reason? Either that or the kid is actually an older version of Aaron. Whaaaa?

An interesting thing about the flash sideways is that Locke had accepted the idea that he can't do everything and instead became a teacher instead. Meanwhile, evil Locke still fervently holds onto the idea that he cannot be told what he can't do. The whole idea of fate. It's interesting that the monster seems to be saying that Jacob forced the six to make choices, but what I think you see is that the monster is the one exerting it's will. Jacob may have touched the folks, but I do not believe he took away their free will. I don't know. They are trying really hard to blur who represents fate and who represents free will.

One other thing I was thinking about is that we have seen both Ethan and Ben outside of the island and that actually proves what I said a couple of weeks ago to be at least partially inaccurate. Because Ben and Ethan would have both been on the island when the bomb had been detonated and thus it could not have been the bomb that sunk the island. However, something else may have done it. I will have to think on it some more.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Lost in Thought: "What Kate Does"

Although this episode was Kate-centric, it was really about Claire. It hinted at past events of Claire and has established her return. There is a lot going on here, so I am going to take different scenes in a random order and try to explore the possible implications of that on the story and Claire's role in the story.

One of the most intriguing events in the episode was appearance of Ethan, who was a major player in Claire's story earlier in the series. In the off island story, Ethan is a baby doctor (or whatever the technical name is for that) and talks to Claire about giving her drugs so that she does not have to give birth so early.

One of the trends in this alternative timeline (the producers have said that they don't like using that term, saying that this new off-island story is not a secondary or lesser than the island events, but for a lack of better term, I will use it) is that the characters are more or less in the same scenario as they were at the start of the series and that this timeline explores what would have happened without the plane crash. The archetype of the characters are essentially the same. Hurley is still a lottery winner. Jack is still a spinal surgeon, Kate is still a fugitive, etc. More to the point, Ethan can be assumed that he is filling a role that he had in the original timeline and that is on the island, he was also a baby doctor. This may also imply that he knew what he was doing with Claire on the island and not just taking orders, but rather he was trying to protect Claire through his medical training. The drugs he was injecting into her when she was taken away from the other castaways was to prevent the baby from being born on the island because of the fact other pregnant women have died. It may indicate that he really did have Claire's best interest in mind.

Another major event in this episode links Sayid to Claire's fate. I had always assumed that Claire did in fact die in the attack by Keamy and his fellow mercenaries on New Otherton. When she woke up that night and saw Christian, this was when she was "claimed" like Sayid is. Now, I had assumed that maybe Claire was another one of the forms of the monster like Christian, but this episode seems to indicate that Claire and Sayid are different than merely a form of the monster, but rather raised from the dead for the sake of fulfilling the monster's purposes. The monster has been associated with the idea of Cerberus, who was the guardian of the underworld in Greek mythology. The reason Dogen wanted Sayid dead was because of the tainted nature that Sayid inherited from this second life. What would Dogen fear so much about Sayid. I think the answer lies with another one who may have been claimed and that is Rousseau's team members. In the episode where Jin was with them, he witnessed the team member who was romantically connected to Rousseau try to attack her in a way that is out of sync of his character. We know that the team members were in contact with the monster and may have been "claimed" at that point. It is possible that once "claimed" the monster can take over the body and do as it will.

The question then is, what is the difference between the state Christian is and the state that Claire is in? Is Christian and Locke under the same thing curse that Claire and the Rousseau team members are under?

It's clear that this season is about defining who is on who's side and which side is the good side and which one is the evil side and I believe the original timeline and the alternative timeline are actually connected in some very major way. Aside from the producers actually saying so, it is also clear in the way Claire and Kate talked about the baby's name being Aaron.

That's where I'll leave it for now. I know I said I was going to talk about the smoke monster more, and I want to actually walk through what Jacob's nemesis' plan was and see if that sorts out some issues, but I was more interested in the role of Claire and Ethan. And now I'm about to fall unconscious. Good night.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

You Are Not a Beautiful Snowflake

I was at Bible study last night with some folks and we were talking about calling and purpose and what's the difference. It was essentially us trying figure out the semantics and use of the words inside the Christian context. However, the discussion touched on many ideas that revolve what is a person's role in this world and it happened to touch on the idea of special.

I think the idea of special is one that really bothers me because I think it is one that has really penetrated our society and collective philosophy. I grew up in school being told that everyone is special and that I was apart of a generation that could change the world. I think the last part of that is funny, because that is innate to every generation. Anyway, I have never liked that word of special because it is used too liberally and has negatively impacted my generation and the ones that follow, especially when people were using it, they usually were intending the word uniqueness.

I believe that everyone is their own person and have their own thoughts and have their own path even if it does parallel several others. They are given a different environment with different family situations and different towns and schools. People from all over the world might make similar choices to you, but there are so many aspects to a person's being, character, history, thought process and perspective that they are their own.

Special on the other hand implies that you have something that is above and beyond everybody else. Whether it is some special talent or skill that rises above all the rest or that you have been given an earth shaking responsibility that could change the world. That is what special is. It is interesting because people use the terms unique and special interchangeably which has deceived many people think that they are some bright shining star high above all the rest. Look at American Idol and the continual parade of delusion that trots out their underdeveloped or simply non-existent skill or talent. These people are shocked to have learned 20 years too late that they are not gifted singers and that clearly the tuned ears of professionals are the ones that are mistaken. They have come to believe that their secret talent is what's going to rescue them from their dull lives and bring them the celebrity life that they deserve because they are special.

Look at movies. They do not help at all. Aside from the movie "Fame", most of those coming of age movies have some young protagonist who wants to pursue their dream of being the world's greatest musician/filmmaker/Rolling Stone article writer and they endure the trials of their career choice despite the objections of their parents or what all those mentors have to say and eventually they make it. You never hear of the other 99% of endings to those stories where they realize that they don't have the real discipline, fortune, skill or talent to actually make that dream become a reality and they are left in a wasteland of disillusionment of who they have determined themselves to be.

Even if a person doesn't actually pursue their dream, they still believe that if they really wanted to, they could make it which is the great deception of people's egos. Seriously, if you asked the guy working at the burger joint that if he really put all his effort into his dream of becoming the next Jimi Hendrix or Jim Morrison or Fred Durst, they would say that yes, they could they just don't want the lifestyle or to buckle down and do it or whatever other reason. They realize it would take work and time, but they frequently believe that they could if given time, money, and resources because they know they have some special gift or message for the world. The reality way more often than not that no you couldn't.

It has crept into our North American thought so much, that it even creeps into our theology. We believe that God has some special plan just for us and we have to be primarily concerned with determining what that is. People hold back until they hear that magic voice that commands them to go forth and do whatever God says. The reality is that God does have a call on our lives, but it is way more basic than people wish. Love God and love others. That is it. Now, there may be some that get some grand task given to them from on high, but chances are that that person is not you or me. We have been given a sphere of influence and that is what we are responsible for. We are meant to reach out to those that we can love and influence. We are not going to save the world. You are not Moses. You are not Solomon. You are not John. You definitely are not Jesus. Most likely, you're not one of the people mentioned in the genealogies. You are not a beautiful snowflake. Ok, that one was maybe a little harsh. But it's that kind of message that is drowned out by so much of the media and culture that surrounds us. We are being coddled and not pushed.

Here's the thing. We are unique, just (most likely) not special. At least special on a cosmic scale. However, we are special to some people. I think of my friends as special people because I have a relationship with them. I can see that divine spark in them. I have different bonds with different people. When you are in love, you have a special connection to that person you're in love with. And you're special to them. The rest of the world could disappear, but if you're with the one you love, then it's ok.

Don't bother with thinking that you are special, because you are setting yourself up for a grand disappointment. If God has some special plan for you, He'll make sure you know. In the mean time, reach out to those around you. Find the divine spark in them. Make them special to you.

"You know what you are
You're gonna be a star
Wing is written on your feet
Your achilles heel is a tendency to dream
But you've know that from the beginning
You didn't have to go so far
You didn't have to go."
- "All the Way to Reno" from R.E.M.'s album "Reveal"

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Lost in Thought: "LA X"

The long wait to the new season of Lost was well worth it after taking in the two hour season premiere. I am excited to see where this season goes and what they do with the story. However, I wanted to actually write down my thoughts about the new episodes as they come along just to see how well I can understand where the story is going. Each week, I want to write about various topics that come up in the show. Obviously, these posts are going to mean nothing to people who are not current with the show and if you are trying to catch up, then please, do not read these because it's going to riddled with spoilers. With that, let's start.

This week, I am going to tackle the big turn in the story which is a direct result of the season 5 finale. I was wondering how they were going to handle the bomb detonating at the pocket of electromagnetism. From various sources, there was an implication that the bomb would reset the timeline and that flight 815 would land in Los Angeles safe. The problem with that though would be that the island would be abandoned and the idea that this show centers around the island would not work or they would really have to stretch to make it work for the characters to go back and in addition you would the problem of a time paradox. However, if the bomb failed, then all the main characters would be dead with the story nowhere to go.

That's where the timeline split comes in, which does not completely surprise me, but I was unsure of how they'd handle it. I mean, you are tracking two stories of characters in two different realities and I can potentially see that being confusing for much of the audience (although I assume that much of the audience who watch the show are fairly intelligent). The two realities (or parallel timelines) that were created by the incident at the Swan site and both need to exist on a metaphysic level otherwise it would cause a time paradox as I previously mentioned. The first reality is one where the bomb successfully detonated and ultimately sinks the island to below the seas' surface in 1977. Since the island sinks, there is no hatch constructed on it, thus no button for Desmond to press and thus it did not bring down Flight 815. The plane lands safely in the Los Angeles airport and things are relatively normal for the passengers. However, minor differences are apparent in the lives of the characters due to the ripple effect of the island never playing a role in the lives. I will call this parallel universe the "no island" reality.

However, this would mean that since the plane did not wreck on the island, it also means that Jack and his crew would not go on the series of events that leads them to going back to 1977 and thus detonate the bomb that sinks the island. It's a time paradox, so on a metaphysical level, there needs to be a reality where the island still exists and the hatch is created and the plane crashes and the events of the first 5 seasons occur. They get bumped back to 2007 and exist in the same reality as Sun, LaPedus, and Ben because in relativity that is how much time has passed for both the Ajira crew and for Jack and the others. This is the "island exists" reality.

Ok, that was basically a review of what actually happened on the episode and doesn't really have a theory in it, but what does this idea mean for some of the other mysteries of the island? I don't know yet, I will have to think about it more. The other major development is the identity of the smoke monster as being Jacob's nemesis and the fake Locke. I will deal with that next time.

What I really look forward to in this season is the development of the two alternative timelines because I have not seen this in any other show or movie really. It will be interesting to see what the characters would have done without the impact of the island on their lives. It is also a tool for the main debate of the whole show which is fate vs. free will. If we have a specific fate, then you will be seeing the two realities parallel each other. You will see Boone die in the "no island" reality, along with Charlie, and the others that died in the original "island exists". It will be very much like the Final Destination franchise in that regard and there will be nothing that can be done to prevent it. However, if the philosophy of the show leans towards free will, then you are going to see vastly different outcomes for the characters in the two realities. Maybe in one, the character has a tragic end, but then you can see that they have a second chance in another life.

Can we change fate? That's what Lost has asked from the start and I am looking forward to see how the writers tackle it.

"See you in another life, brotha," - Desmond