More “Altering Future” Discussion Following AES “Amy” Post

This originally was going to be a comment in the discussion on AES’s Amy…Am I Wrong? post

The question is: Do the Losties affect, influence and have the ability to alter the future based on their existence in the past? (Assuming we all have common ground in describing the PAST as the year 1977, on a timeline that comes before 1978, 2004, etc.) A few of us agree that the PAST of 1977 is the PRESENT for Losties, despite some people’s calendar days looking like this…


Sawyer – Day 1: 12/24/04; Day 2: 9/23/54; Day 3: 10/3/2004 (even though he had this day already ‘last month’); Day 4: 9/17/2007; Day 5: 9/23/74; Day 6:9/24/74/…

Kate – Day 1: 12/24/04; Day 2: 12/25/04; Day 3 and on and on…Day 1003: 9/10/07; Day 1004:9/24/1977

Read that discussion to get up to speed, and here’s one of my thoughts.

Losthead said this: “They (the Losties) all possess knowledge of events to come.” Absolutely right, we will see what events that they effect with this knowledge as the season continues. Bottom line is, they ARE altering the past/future because they have the future knowledge they are bringing into the past.

Locke knew the date of his birth. He didn’t change the date of when he was born. But he did influence who was there in the hospital. Which leads to a random thought that’s been brought up before, and it’s similar to the Charlie dying conversation. Someone tried to run over Emily, Locke’s mother, when she was six months pregnant. Is that someone armed with knowledge that she is pregnant with Locke and they are trying to keep him from being born? As the nurse said, they’ve never seen such a young premature baby survive. So Locke survived the same way that Desmond saved Charlie repeatedly. And as Hawking told Desmond, the universe will always course correct.

I bring this up to add another question into the discussion that has to do with the characters: HOW does the universe course correct? We have gone on and on about different situations that we’ve seen (Desmond/Charlie) and hypothesizing what we have yet to see (Hurley and the numbers) because we are trying to support the idea of the future isn’t changeable by people entering into the past…and that there are certain things that are just “supposed” to happen or will happen no matter what people try to do.

But, every time we talk about this, we are talking about a special group of people! So, it’s kind of a wash in my mind. If you buy into the line of thinking that a “constant” can serve a purpose in not only saving someone’s life from brain explosions, but in actually rectifying a timeline of events, then why would we overlook the roles of the special Losties as constants, and to build on that, as the course correctors in place that bring the necessary influences between past and future events in order to affect the outcome of something very specific that is yet to be seen?

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7 thoughts on “More “Altering Future” Discussion Following AES “Amy” Post

  1. Hey,

    I’d just like to add that time travel only appears to be possible on the Island. We have yet to see time travel engaged from the real world. So if it’s possible to change the future, than it’s only possible because of the Island which could be a potential out for the Lost producers with respect to how they approach a closed time like curve and the ability to change things.

    We see a lot of examples of course correction on the show – person is not allowed to shoot themselves, the pen not working when the adoption papers were about to be signed, all the flashes before they could change anything of relevance (I believe the last flash was meant to happen), and we can’t forget smokey the course corrector.

  2. as a qualifier, when i say last flash I mean the flash that took Sawyer, Juliet, Faraday, Jack, Kate, Hurley, etc to the 70’s. Someone mentioned the bunny scene and how Dr. Chang freaked out, and that’s exactly why Ben didn’t flash into the 70’s as he could have crossed paths with his past self causing a destructive paradox. Charlotte’s death (disappearance) also fits with this as she existed in Dharma time with the losties. Just wanted to point that out as an example of why I’m sure that what’s happening now in the 70s has always happened as such. So….. maybe that’s why Sun didn’t flash off the plane with the losties (maybe she is on the Island as a child as well).

  3. I submit change has already occurred.

    1) Locke tells Richard Alpert in 1954, prior to Locke’s own birth, he will become the leader of ‘the others’.

    2) Daniel tells Ellie in 1954 to seal the leak on ‘Jughead’. Presumably, they do!

    3) Sawyer/LaFleur tells Richard Alpert in 1977 of John’s conversation about him becoming leader, and about ‘Jughead’ in 1954. We haven’t seen the final outcome of that, but we do see Richard Alpert backs off of any further attack that night.

    Not only do these things occur, they are remembered by both parties!

    I rest my case!

  4. It is confusing indeed. The problem is that time can basically be viewed in two ways.

    The first way is the way that we are most commonly confronted in TV and movies, which is that there are infinite parallel dimensions and that every choice you make in life causes you to step into a different dimension, a place where events in the future will occur differently than they would have if you have not made that decision. You can call this Star Trek time or Back to the Future time, or whatever you want.

    The second way to look at time is that it is an immovable constant and no matter what choices you make, those are the choices you make. In this kind of time, time travelers have no more effect on their future selves than you or I can effect the future of our own lives in our choices. These are the choices we were meant to make. You can call it whatever you like, fate, destiny, predetermination, whatever.

    I think some people get upset about this concept of time because for whatever reason, they are somehow personally offended that they cannot have “free will”. But what is free will? Free Will proponents assume that they are free to make any choice they want because they create their own destiny. But if you think about it long enough, you will realize that you have absolutely no way of knowing if you are making a free decision or if you are making the decision you were supposed to make.

    Personally, I find the idea of linear time very freeing. It means that the decisions I make in life are exactly what they are supposed to be, for whatever reason. I don’t have the patience to weigh the gravity of every little choice I make in a universe of truly free will… if I did, I probably would never leave the house.

    So back to the matter at hand. If you look at Lost as a “time-line” which begins some time in the ancient times and goes up until 2007, you can plot out the movements of our characters through dots. If it makes it simplier to you, you can connect the dots from the time-shifts as a little curving “loop”. It is quite possible that there are many loops going back and forth from other characters etc, but we don’t know about any of that, so for our purposes it doesn’t matter.

    What we do know, is that half of our characters are currently trapped at a point in time some 20 years before they arrived at the island. Everything they do there will obviously effect the situation. But what that means is that whatever they do from here on out sets the stage for the events that we have already seen come to pass… just as the events that occurred in 2004 are effecting the events in 2007. But that doesn’t mean they have or are “changing” anything.

    Back to the time-line analogy. We are dealing with three KINDS of time-lines here. Earth is the reference point. It has it’s time-line. The island is the second reference point and it is apparently moving through points on the Earth’s time-line, in it’s own unique time… which we know NOTHING about! Since contact between the island and the outside world is so buggered, we have absolutely no way of knowing when the island is at any given moment! The third kind of time-line is the personal time-lines of the characters… of which there are several different sets… people off of the Island, the Others/Dharma people fixed on the Island, the Losties who were moving through time, and the O6 who have returned only to find themselves shifted in time.

    It would take a whole lot of blackboard space to work it all out, and I can’t even imagine what a nightmare it is to write for this show!

  5. PJD,
    “I think some people get upset about this concept of time because for whatever reason, they are somehow personally offended that they cannot have

  6. Sure, it’s not supposed to be possible… but the fact is… we don’t really actually know what is happening at all. We have absolutely no reference points between the outside world and the island, except for Faraday’s experiment and the length of the chopper rides, both of which suggest that even on a good day, the island does not inhabit the same time-line as the outside world.

    The only reason I feel that Lost is using this kind of time-line is because I spent the last 2 years writing a fictional book about that kind of time travel before I ever even watched a single episode of the show. As such I’ve spent alot of time thinking about how scenarios relating to relationships between different kinds of time and time travel would pan out. Honestly, I’m more than a little upset to be coming to the conclusion that this show that everyone has been talking about for the last 5 years is based on exactly the premise of my book. I honestly just thought it was a stupid action adventure show about people lost on an island before about 3 months ago. Lol.

  7. pjdkrunkt….I totally agree with you. you vocalized (much more eloquently) my exact feelings on the nature of the type of time travel seen in lost.

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