Yet another time traveling theory…

There have been so much debate as of late in regards to how time travel works on Lost.

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41 thoughts on “Yet another time traveling theory…

  1. benhamine,

    that would explain all the continuity problems we have been seeing as of late – ben’s bullet moving, picture frame changes, etc.

    have you considered that it’s possible desmond did really buy the ring and proposed to penny and that what we are seeing now is the change?

    i’m starting to think outside of what we are seeing and trying to come up with a different point of view. kinda based on perception/reality/viewpoints of each time traveler.

  2. The only problem with that would be that he didn’t experience these things for a second time until season 3. I need to go back and watch that episode again but I’m pretty sure Desmond realizes that he should be able to change his fate. There is no change from right before he goes back in time to right after he comes back to the “present.” He was on the island before and he’s on it now. Although, there might be some changes that I’m missing. What did you have in mind in particular?

    I do like though how you’re thinking about it and I always encourage thinking outside of what we are being shown.


  3. Benhamine, congratulations on your theory! I think you did it justice.

    I really like your explanation and it would be a good alternative to what we have been led to believe. In particular, I like your thoughts on Desmond, and how the Universe self-corrects!

    I will share more thoughts on your theory, later.

    PS: I meant to tell you last night, how much I like your avatar! I think Sterling, the young actor who plays young Ben, is a phenomenal actor, and does justice to older Ben!

  4. lost4815162342, I just think it might! I am on the faith side of that particular aspect. But, faith will need a little help from science, I think!

  5. divine intervention would most likely be required to change a future that has been written, or possibly a belief in something so strong that ultimate sacrifice could initiate the change that would be needed.

  6. That is a great question lost4815162342…god that’s long…and the answer (according to my theory and according to how I’ve understood what has happened in Lost thus far) is no you couldn’t prevent it. You could postpone it much like Desmond was able to postpone Charlie’s death, but it would be an inevitability. The universe would find a way to make it happen. I suppose theoretically you could postpone it for eternity by continuously changing things. However, I feel that the more something is postponed the more the universe wants it fixed. In other words the farther that the tangent time-line gets from the real time-line the more the universe will want to purge that time-line. In the case of Desmond trying to save Charlie, he continuously tempted fate by saving Charlie until the time-line was getting so far away from where it was supposed to be that the universe forced him to die (through Charlie batting him over the head.)

    I feel that destiny will play an integral part in the story and that’s the main reason I believe that nothing can truly be changed.


    P.S. to Dab:
    Yeah I think he’s a good counter to old Ben as well…but I chose that as my avatar because I thought he was making a funny face haha.

  7. Edit:
    I meant to say:
    “…was getting so far away from where it was supposed to be that the universe took the option of change away from Desmond.”


  8. Benhamine, I think I’ve had time for the concept to really sink in, and I must say, it is very intriguing! It also sounds quite plausible and would be a good explanation of course correction with different time-lines merging, and the purging of the same.

    I am really curious about your concept. Is this something you thought up on your own, or did you research it somewhere? If you did research this concept, does it have a name?

    I also like the idea of ‘destiny’ playing a significant role. We know that it will, but it is not something that is theorized much about. I hope this is something you will soon explore.

    PS: I think it is an adorable avatar!

    Once again, superb job on the theory!

  9. It might have been thought of before but I thought of it on my own. I don’t have a name for it…and wouldn’t know what to look up haha. Also Thanks for the compliments.


  10. Ok…I really dont know what to say…someone else understands me…I mean you really see the same thing, a few minor variations…but an unbelievable theory.
    Truly took thoughts from my head, different ideas I have written off in the past, and some that I still believe, and some I wish I would have thought to say, and turned this into a fantastic theory.
    I may have a biased opinion, but one the best I have read here.
    I have a million and one things to say…
    May I?

  11. Wow, I never thought that this theory would have gotten so many compliments, but thank you guys. I just wanted to make a few changes to it though.

    I just re-watched “Flashes Before Your Eyes” and noticed a few things. First of all, it appears that Desmond seems to…remember seeing Charlie die. In the opening scene where we see Desmond, Hurley, Charlie, Locke, and Sayid in the jungle talking about Ecko, Desmond stops for a second. He looks around as if this is all familiar. Moments later he runs off and saves Claire from drowning. When he’s talking to Charlie later he tells him, “You drowned” and, “You were electrocuted” as if these things HAD happened. Also, when Desmond and Hurley are walking in the jungle in the previous episode, Hurley is worried about Jack and the losties in new Otherton. Desmond replies, “Don’t worry. Locke is gonna go after them. He said so in his speech.” He is of course referring to a speech that hasn’t happened yet. However, he believes it has because he has a memory of it happening. Now this might not make sense but let me introduce a couple more revelations then I’ll give you my updated theory.

    Second thing I noticed, Ms. Hawking realizes that Desmond is doing something different. Yes, yes I know that this is pretty obvious, until you think about it’s implications. How does she know this? She hasn’t experienced these things before, has she? She’s not time traveling, Desmond is. So, how does she know something is amiss? This actually has been bugging me for the past couple of days.

    Third thing I noticed was that she says, “And if you don’t do all those things Desmond Hume, we’re all dead.” This implies that Desmond can in fact do something other than what he is supposed to do. In other words, why would she be worried about what he does if the universe is just going to course correct what he does?

    Ok, so here’s my updated theory (This is in addition to my previous theory, I still believe the above is valid). I believe that some people on the show somehow KNOW the real time-line. I didn’t say can see into the future because that’s not what they’re doing. They remember the stuff that happens, therefore they KNOW what happens. I believe since these people know the time-line then they have the ability to change it. The universe will still try to course correct but these people can keep changing things to keep the outcome from happening (ex:Desmond keeping Charlie from dieing). They shouldn’t though because if the tangent time-line gets too far from the real time-line then the universe goes boom due to paradox. This is what is meant by, “And if you don’t do all those things Desmond Hume, we’re all dead.” Yes, Desmond could try to live his happy life with Penelope, but the universe would implode in on itself while it was trying to change this to what’s supposed to happen. Now I believe there are many people that can do this; Desmond, Ms. Hawking, and Widmore to name a few. My reasoning for Desmond is obvious. I believe Ms. Hawking can do it because:
    a. She KNOWS what Desmond will do before he does it.
    b. She KNEW the guy with the red sneakers was going to die.
    Widmore is more of a stretch. My reasoning behind him is in the similarity between his speech and Hawking’s speech to Desmond in the same episode. Also, the ties that seem to be between the two back in 1975.

    As for their speech:
    “You’ll never be a great man Hume.”
    “Pushing that button is the only great thing you’ll ever do.”

    “What you’re not, is worthy of drinking my whiskey. What makes you think you’re worthy of my daughter?”
    “Just like I know you don’t propose to Penelope, you don’t marry her,…”

    In lines of my previous theory, their speeches are the universes way of keeping Desmond from marrying Penny, because he needs to go to the island and he needs to press the button.

    Now I believe that this ability is one that needs to be developed. Ms. Hawking is able to just spout off tons of facts about Desmond’s life-to-be but Desmond has trouble differentiating what’s an ACTUAL memory and what’s a TIME-LINE memory. This is probably due to the fact that Desmond appears to only have received this “power” through turning the fail-safe key in the s2 finale.

    Ok, so I finished the episode like 2 hours ago and then had an hour and a half Lost discussion with my roommates before writing this post so some of it might not make sense. If anything is unclear, please post the questions and I’ll try to explain in a better way. I really think I’m on to something though. Oh yeah and it’s 2am here so I’m kind of tired haha.

    Questions? Concerns? Worries?


    P.S. Feel free to say what you want A.E.S.!

  12. You make me proud…I’ll say that for starters.
    My only gripe is with the alternate timelines.
    I see it that way…but not exactly that way.
    I think it would go somewhat like this…
    Desmond goes back and changes the past…something small say…like getting hit with the bat instead of the bartender.
    It is changed by the standpoint of those who know what happened. This, in turn, resembles an alternate reality.
    Des wakes up in the jungle…rubbing the back of his head where he was ‘just’ hit with the bat…or was it a mamory, like when he woke up in bed, and ‘remembered’ the message he is supposed to give Dans Mother.

    Same concept, Des wakes up, ‘KNOWING’ something he didnt know before…a correction or change, depending on how you see it, from what happened to HIM, originally. The universe, knows no difference…it just manipulated anyone else who experienced this event, most likely in the same way it did Desmond…except they didnt know what happened the first time, because to them…it only happened once.
    You could change the past, but the only people who would know anything about the actual difference…is anyone who knew what happened the first time.
    This is confusing…but you seem very on point, and I trust you are with me..

  13. Just thought of this:
    I have previously thought that the war that Widmore is talking about when he talks to Locke in the hospital is the war that happens leading up to the purge between the hostiles and the DI. I believe that Widmore is the leader of the others at this time and whatever happens during this war results in Widmore being tricked into leaving the island by Ben. This is when Ben takes over as leader of the others. I believe that the reason he wants Locke to go to the island is because he wasnts to change the outcome of this war so that he never leaves and Ben does not become leader of the others.

    This new theory I have would support this in that I believe that Widmore is trying to change history while disregarding the rules of time travel. I think that he believes that changing the past won’t do anything to the universe at all. I mean really it would be all speculation anyways. Obviously no one’s tested it because the universe would either be blown up or not and they would know! I believe that sometime while they were on the island (they being Ms. Hawking and Widmore) they discovered their ability to change small things. I believe taht Ms. Hawking believes that they shouldn’t change things because it will end the universe and I believe Widmore believes the exact opposite. This is why Widmore is fighting Ben now and Hawking is helping him.

    Anyways, more sleepless babbling. I’ll probably wake up tomorrow and regret I made any post at all tonight haha.


  14. So not two timelines to anyone who didnt timetravel…then, it appears to them as two, because they literally did go through it twice. The smallest change could result in a mini-paradox for that person…and everyone around him…would think he was nuts (“The Constant”), or psychic (“Flashes Before Your Eyes”).
    All depending on where his concience went to…or should I say when?

  15. I understand what you’re saying. However, I think the two of us are looking at the time-lines in two different ways. You are seeing the time-line as a stream of consciousness and I am talking, essentially, about two parallel universes. Am I right?

    If I’m thinking about this right then I would argue that if what you are saying is true then wouldn’t only Desmond be in the time-line where he was hit by the bat? Since no one else realized the change then wouldn’t they not be in that time-line? Maybe I’m thinking about this wrong and maybe it’s that i need sleep…


  16. No, thats right…They are in the timeline Des was hit with the bat…they just dont know that he wasnt hit ‘HIS’ first time.
    For everyone else, there was only one time.

    I cannot buy into 2 completely different timelines…highbrow talked me off that edge long ago…but that doesnt mean someone cannot experience the same thing twice…and cause change, the way Desmond did…

  17. Or are you trying to say that it doesn’t appear as a second time-line to those who didn’t realize there was a change? I would agtree with you if this is what you’re saying.

    The way I see it is that the two time-lines are as if you were in two connecting rooms. When you entered the building you had the option of either going into room A or Room B. Only you realize that there are two rooms. There are exact copies of everyone and everything in the two rooms at the start. Now lets say you enter room A and go through it doing whatever you want and you come out the exit on the other side. Now you walk around the building and go back in the entrance. This time you realize, “Hey, I went in room A the first time and I didn’t like ti very much. I’m going to go into room B.” This time you do things differently. However, you still have to come out of the same exit which leads to the same place.

    Kind of a crappy analogy but did it get the point across?


  18. There would be two different experiences, at two exact points in someones life, or even a hundred…but the final one, is the one everyone who only experienced it once will know.

  19. Its perception…god, you may actually understand this…Nothing against you, its just nobody understands me when I try to explain this…

    I say that word, and sometimes I think people confuse what Im trying to say as ‘our’ perception, as in ‘we’ view things differently…
    What I mean is yes, Desmond could walk into a hundred different doors, if he were to travel in this manner a hundreed times, and he would mentally, remember them all, but if 100 different people were there each time he walked into a different door, because they didnt timetravel, and this was their present each time, when Des goes through the last door, for the last time, they would only remember that last door…while Desmond would be able to recall every one of them…

    And his body, like the people, would remember only the last, because technically, he only physically did it once…hence him rubbing his head when waking up in the jungle, after his experience into the past.

    His perception is that he travelled through time, a hundred times, and changed the future, but to the hundred people that saw him, and anyone else who didnt experience it, they only perceive that last time.

  20. Yes, Yes, Yes, A.E.S. Perception, I think is the entire key to understand “changing” the past and how exactly this is accomplished.

    Sorry if this is out of the blue I only read the last couple of posts here and I got exited!

  21. I completely understand what you’re saying. The thing with alternate time-lines is that each time-line’s people, although they are technically the same person, they are different instances of that person. This would be easy to explain if you were a programmer haha. Anyways, each person is like a copy of the original with their own memories, experiences, and perception. Since Desmond is traveling through all these alternate time-lines then yes he is perceiving these actions a hundred different ways. However, the hundred copies are each only perceiving it once and are only perceiving the instance where Desmond is in THEIR time-line…make sense?

    I think iI like the idea though of the new time-line replacing the old. It makes more sense because if you were to travel back in time to when the change was made then you wouldn’t see what was supposed to happen. You would see what DID happen.

    So update #3:
    new time-line

  22. class Lost
    public lost()
    public void lost()
    { //inputs
    string desmond;
    string other losties;
    string dharma
    string richard/others

    string past
    string future

    he doesn’t meet Mrs. Hawking;
    goes to island
    he meets Mrs. Hawking
    goes to island
    doesn’t go to the island
    systemExit; //THE WORLD ENDS


    Ha ha this is how the program works! lol

  23. Hmm…interesting NMB, but I believe those should be else if’s. HAHA Good post though, I definitely Lol’d.

    However, I was referring to the idea of instance variables.


    P.S. Can’t wait for the theory A.E.S.!

  24. Just reread my new theory posts from last night…and I can tell I was tired when I wrote them haha, but I still believe those things. Although, I could probably be easily swayed if someone has a counter. I came up with that theory literally hours before I wrote it just to explain the things that I didn’t understand from that episode and to incorporate the new things I saw (such as Desmond apparently CAN change things) into my original theory. So I ask you, what do you all think?


  25. I may have “technical” differences, but we definetly see eye to eye on the subject of change…or at least leaving the door open for it to occur.
    I like your ideas and your ideas and explanations…I just cant fall for a full blown multi timeline idea, it would upset too many, and I think it is made to appear that way…but Ive already thrown more than my 2 cents in…either way, I know you see it a little differently, but I really do love your ideas.

  26. The thing is when you get down to it, to the nitty gritty, my theory is a single-time-line theory. Nothing big TRULY changes, and the alternate time-lines are purged leaving only one time-line in the end. The time-line that consists of what actually happened. You can think of what I call the “True Time-Line” sort of as a theoretical time-line. Obviously what happens in the future is not on the time-line yet, because it hasn’t happened. Therefore the “True Time-Line” is merely a series of events that are supposed to happen. Whether they do or not depends on the variables; Desmond, Ms. Hawking, Widmore, etc.

    As for traveling back in time, I don’t understand how things could change without splitting into a tangent time-line. The producers have already slashed the idea of a “Back to the Future” plot where changes are made in the past and everything changes around people in the future. I’m not saying that you’re wrong. I’m saying I don’t understand where you’re coming from and would like to.

    Also, the argument that, “it would upset too many” seems too narrow minded for the writers of Lost. You can tell by the ratings for the show. They’ve plummeted the past few years to now where the last two years have had the lowest ratings of all seasons respectively. This doesn’t mean that I dislike what’s going on. I obviously do, I mean I spend way to much of my time with this show to not like it. What it does mean is the writers don’t give a rat’s ass what people think. They have a show that’s theirs and they keep it that way. They do what THEY want and I think that betters the story.

    In conclusion, I would love to hear your theories and reasoning behind not believing there is possibility for multiple time-lines. Maybe I can quell some of your worries or maybe you can do the same fore me. Either way I’m sure it’ll be interesting 😛


  27. There has to be SOME sort of multiple timeline…I think the orchid video, and multiplying bunnies gives something to a paradox, or multiple timelines of some sort…but I have no explanation…

    And one thing…I hear the writers/producers on their clues to the show, but I dont listen to everything they say…
    I went through and struck down a few of their statements in my ‘Just a theory’ post…
    They said NO TIMETRAVEL, thats all I have to say on their ‘word’…

  28. We have no way to vet the statements made by the producers/writers. We know they’re not always truthful but we know that they sometimes do tell the truth. We have to either believe everything they say or discount all of it and let the show tell us eventually what was truth and what was lies.

  29. I know that this is probably a lost cause, but somehow this post has gotten screwed up. I really want to show some of my friends the original post I made, especially after the premiere, and was wondering if somehow somewhere out there one you have a copy of the post or know how I might be able to recover it. I’m so depressed that it’s gone…and this is a desperate grasping for straws method of getting it back. I figured I’d at least ask.

    Thank you,

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