Duality, Dreams, the Candidates and the nature of the ALT
I’m not saying that the “ALT” is a dream — but you may want to read on….
Part I: Duality
Let’s start with a look at duality. Below are three definitions for duality — one in general terms, one as it relates to physics, and one as it relates to philosophy. Each is followed by an example (or two) in relation to Lost:
Duality (general): dichotomy: being twofold; a classification into two opposed parts.
Lost Example: good vs. evil, science vs. faith.
Duality (physics): the property of matter and electromagnetic radiation that is characterized by the fact that some properties can be explained best by wave theory and others by particle theory
Lost Example: this is the theoretical basis of the unique physical properties of the island that allow time travel, etc. (see my theory “Hawking’s Imaginary Voyage” and others).
Duality (philosophy): The concept that our mind has a non-material, spiritual dimension that includes consciousness and possibly an eternal attribute and is separate from our physical being.
Lost Example: the ‘real’ spirits (not Nemesis faking it), Jacob’s ladder, the ‘alternate reality’ — more below…
I think we can all agree that duality is a major theme in Lost, and as is briefly mentioned above, it covers several critical aspects of the show. Fundamentally, duality has helped theorize the island’s physical properties. I also believe it can be used to help theorize the nature of the alternate reality.
Part II: Jacob (of the Bible)’s Dream
Right off the bat, spirits and dreaming have a common point relative to Lost: Jacob’s ladder. Many believe (including me) that Jacob’s name is in reference to Jacob’s ladder, a gateway to the spirit world, and that Lost (which I believe is Lost Eden, but that is a different theory) provides a unique gateway to the spirit world.
So what is the connection to spirits and dreaming?:
Jacob’s ladder: Book of Genesis (28:11—19): “And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it!”
The relevance of Jacob’s ladder to dreams is this: Jacob’s ladder was revealed to Jacob in a dream. The spirits that he saw “ascending and descending” were seen by him while dreaming. Important?
As I stated, Jacob’s ladder is the figurative gateway in Lost that the spirits travel through when they visit the island — the free spirits, that is (not like Michael, who seems to be trapped like Nemesis) — spirit’s like Richard’s wife and so on.
So — if we take literally the story of Jacob (the Bible version of him) and that he saw the angels/spirits in a dream, then we can state that spirits can be seen and met in a ‘dream state’.
Using the “duality philosophy” mentioned above, the dream state can actually be considered a “reality”. Per the definition, consciousness is separate from the physical being. This consciousness resides elsewhere, in another reality.
This consciousness is also what lives on after the physical body perishes. So, the spirit of Michael is the consciousness of Michael. Same with Richard’s wife, and the other ‘real’ spirits that have been encountered on the island — they are the consciousness that live on, that have been “judged” based on their actions while living, and they reside in a different state of being, but are encountered in the “crossover” realm of the island.
But — spirits are not encountered by everyone. Recall, not everyone can see them.
Part III: Jacob’s Candidates
This will be short because I don’t have a strong theory here, just an observation. Jacob’s candidates are special. Why? I don’t know. However, one thing that they some seem to have in common (at least the finalists) is their ability to see spirits.
So it seems one criterion for the finalists may be this ‘ability’ to commune with spirits. Someone like Jack or Sawyer can see them (Jack’s father, the ‘boy’ that appears before Nemesis) but Hurley seems to take it to another level — they seem drawn to him and vice versa.
What I think this means is the following: if they can ‘see’ spirits, then they can ‘see’ or are aware of the dream state the spirits exist in.
Part IV: Alternate Reality
Final part of this theory (hope you’re still going).
In the Bible and other sacred scriptures, the term “death” and “sleep” are used interchangeably (change “death” to “spirit world”). Sleep has traditionally been called “death’s sister.” Scholars believe that the Book of Revelation is an account of a dream or a series of dream by John the Revelator. The reason it is believed to be a dream is because the symbolism found in the Book of Revelation is remarkably similar to the prophetic dream symbology of the prophet Daniel in the Book of Daniel (from a website on dreaming).
Now — I am not saying everyone is asleep and is about to wake up. Just want to clarify that.
However, I do believe there is a state of existence where the spirits reside (heaven, for instance). This state of existence is connected to the physical world through the anomaly of the Island (through Jacob’s ladder).
In the world, there are special individuals. Desmond and Ms Hawking are examples of this due to their ability to travel in their minds through imaginary space-time (see Hawking’s Imaginary Journey).
The candidates are also special. They are somehow connected to the spirit world (based on the fact they can see spirits and others cannot).
So: the alternate reality.
The hydrogen bomb explodes. The explosion is slower than the electromagnetism that is released by the explosion, thus the energy is released elsewhere and it does destroy the island or kill Jack et al in the current timeline. They are “flashed” back to the present
We know that time travel in Lost is the “consistent histories” kind, meaning that you cannot go back in time unless history shows that you had already arrived in the past and not committed any acts that would conflict with your current situation in the present. (This is based on the fact that everything they did in Dharma was captured in the present time.)
So the explosion does not change the past, present, or future of the current reality.
Instead, I believe that a “potential” world (not the many worlds theory, where alternate realities exist) came into being. How?
The candidates “turned it on” (sort of like turning a light on in a dark room) when they were hit with the electromagnetic flash. Their physical forms went to the present, and their consciousness (remember duality) flashed into the ALT. This ALT had to exist, because the bomb went off, and the island sank, but it exists in this form because of the time travel law of consistent histories.
And what is the ALT? It is another medium, another Jacob’s ladder sort of existence. It is real, but not physically real. It is imaginary, which is why Desmond and Ms Hawking can reach it through their abilities. Spirits can enter it, which is why we see living and presently deceased people, though they are all restricted by the ‘physical memories’ which resided in their physical memories (even in the ALT), which is why Charlie does not know that he is dead, etc.
Also, because this is a ‘dream state’, individuals like Jack’s son can exist. Jack’s son is real in the sense of a dream — what I mean by that is the ALT does not create new consciousnesses, but beings exist much as they would in a dream.
Think about some of the clues in the ALT that make it seem like a dream — the inconsistencies in what people are wearing from one scene to the next (Desmond’s suit changed from the plane to the airport), Desmond’s wedding ring (he has one, he doesn’t have one), Jack’s scar on the wrong side in the mirror, the fact that Sun and Locke get to the hospital at the same time even though time must have transpired differently for each of them for that to happen, the ‘bleeding’ of real world memories into the ALT….
To clarify — I don’t think it will be as simple as the Losties waking up and the ALT disappearing. They are awake AND their consciousnesses exist in the ALT. The ALT is a real place, just not like we are used to.
And I do think it is the loophole that Nemesis has been after. With the help of the candidates, he has created a way off the island — and a way back into the spirit world that is now not guarded (“we’ll all go to hell” was what Richard’s wife said — maybe this is because evil incarnate (Satan) can now get into heaven and restart the war).
And I think this is where Nemesis wants to go, and for the ALT to continue to exist, he has to take the physical forms of the “dreamers” (candidates) with him so they cannot “awaken”.
One last thought. What does “awaken” mean? I’m not exactly sure, but I feel as if only one existence can last. By the law of quantum physics, only one will last at the point of observation. This is a current “unstable” moment.
Nemesis wants the ALT to be the successful reality. Desmond is doing what he can to “wake up” the candidates in the ALT and thereby (just like in Quantum Physics) create an observation by the observer that leads (hopefully) to the sole existance of the real reality.
Desmond needs to create a Lucid Dream scenario.
The Lucid dream is when you suddenly realize you are dreaming. One way that this occurs can be reading. Many people cannot read in their dreams, or when they do, the letters get jumbled and move around, etc…and occasionally this causes the dreamer to realize it is a dream and not real.
So if the candidates were to see the manifest — to read it… would that be enough? If there something additionally important about the manifest, something they would search it for, and yet not be able to, because, as real as it seems, this is still a dream? Other individuals can read and not effect the reality, like Linus. And at some point, if this reality becomes the ‘real’ reality, perhaps even the candidates can too. But while the ALT is in this transitional phase, perhaps this is one way to create lucidity?
And was that why Ms Hawking’s told Desmond he was not ready to see the list?
(I do realize he saw Faraday’s journal, but he barely glanced at it — maybe not enough to make him realize at that moment, but it was not long after anyhow)…
That last bit about reading is certainly a stretch (most of the theory may be — but that’s why it’s a theory!)…
So I’m sure there are many gaps in this theory, but hopefully some of it holds together.
Thanks for sticking with it…