I’m mainly trying to address the situation of Jacob and the Man in Black
First of all I see a lot of theories based on who is good and bad. I think this approach is a mistake. The themes of lost have always been made in a way to make people sometimes look good, and then you discover they are, or were bad, or vice-versa. I think the point of all of that is to show that there is no good or bad, only people in situations with different views, desires, and belief systems. Now, of course there is absolute evil and absolute good in some actions, however we have not seen enough of either of these men to know if either of them is totally consumed by either good or evil. I think the white/black shirts were meant as a stron symbol, and I immediately thought back to the first season when they found the two skeletons and the pouch with a white and black stone, and also locke’s speech about white and black when he was playing backgammon. I think it all ties together somewhat.
From the argument between the men, I feel that they are two opposed sides with strongly differing viewpoints. Clearly Jacob wants people on the island, he believes that there is good in people and for some reason feels that they should be on the island. The other man clearly does not want anyone on the island, and seems to not even want Jacob on the island(thus wanting to kill him). I know you’re saying “duh”: we know this already, but this just goes back to my previous point:
Neither of these views seem to be correct competely, nor do they seem totally incorrect. There are good people, yet humans clearly seem to have a history of death and destruction, which the man in black(though many seem to think represents death and destruction), seems to hate and want to keep away from him/the island. At the same time Jacob’s desire does not seem to be the destruction or death of anyone/anything, he just wants progress.
Now, under those assumptions, which I think are well based, neither is really “bad” or “good”, they just have different ideas on what should be done, and one resents the other for it. At the same time, they are bound by some unknown rules which seem to keep them from directly harming or stoping one another.
What is Jacob? I’m not sure. He would appear to be the leader of the group of hostiles/others, who he seems to “hand pick”(lists), good from bad, supposedly. Richard serves Jacob, but seems to be limited in his scope. He couldn’t tell that locke was an impostor, or that (aparently), the Man in Black had been using Jacob’s shed for his own plans. However I do think the lists came from Jacob, as richard got them from Jacob, and Richard seems to know that Jacob is located “in the shadow of the statue”.
So we have Jacob drawing the one group onto the Island, leading them from afar, selected the good ones, and then you