We learned in this last episode from Daniel Faraday that he had not given any consideration to the ‘variables’ in his equations, and only focused on the ‘constants’. He tells Jack, that ‘the losties’ are the ‘variables’. What does this mean, how will they be able to use this information, and will they fail or succeed in their quest to prevent ‘the incident’?
An important distinction having to do with the term ‘variable’ is the distinction between an independent and dependent variable. This distinction is particularly relevant when you are investigating cause-effect relationships.
In Probability theory, every possible event has a non-negative real number between zero and one associated to it, the probability, which gives the chance that it happens. If you want to know the probability of two independent events both occurring, for example the probability that it will rain and also that the stock market will go up, you multiply the probability for each event. If there is a 0.3 chance that it will rain and a 0.6 chance that the market will go up, there is a 0.18 chance that both will happen.
In quantum mechanics, alternative ways for the same outcome to arise are said to ‘interfere’ with each other. The possibility of something happening can just as easily be diminished as increased by the fact that it can happen in different ways.
The more ways there are to achieve a singular outcome, the less likely that singular outcome will actually happen.
Essentially, what all of this means is, while it is possible to predict, change and effect outcomes, it is not quite as easy as Daniel explained it, as it is not an exact or a precise science. Failure is just as easy as success! I suspect this is why Ms. Hawking is so nervous for the first time in her life, as she isn’t certain of what will happen. She has fulfilled her role, at calculating and predicting on her end of the equation. The rest is up to ‘the players’ on ‘the board’ now. There are only a few ‘key’ players who don’t seem to be very concerned, and one of them is Benjamin Linus. Always true to form, he is as ‘cool as a cucumber’, under fire. Ben always has a plan!
Consider the following; somebody, whether that person is Ms. Hawking, Ben, Widmore, Richard or Jacob has to know what is going on, or maybe all of them do. Somebody planned for ‘the losties’ to be on Flight #815 in the first place, likely by employing these same calculations. I don’t believe any of this was mere coincidence. If you apply the same logic (the variables) that Daniel is suggesting to ‘the losties’ to prevent ‘the incident’, and apply them to the crash of Flight #815, this could also have been calculated and predicted. You should also consider, that it was likely no coincidence that after the FDW was turned and ‘the island’ began skipping through time, that they arrived and settled into 1974. I have long thought, that ‘the losties’ are mere pawns on a chessboard, being manipulated to serve some greater purpose, presently unknown to us.
Because of the complexity of accurately predicting a desired outcome, it is quite possible that ‘the losties’ may fail in their attempts to prevent ‘the incident’. However, this does not preclude another attempt to achieve an outcome that may be less desirable, but still effective.
For instance, we know that pushing the button in the Swan Station worked. That is, until Desmond failed to enter the numbers, on that fateful day. If that event could be altered, so Desmond was in the Swan Station to push the button on time, Flight #815, would not crash. An alternative method could then be employed, to ensure the button would always be pushed on time. Perhaps, if ‘the incident’ fails, this might be their next plan.
I am not suggesting this is how it will play out, only that there are other options available if they do fail. I personally don’t know what to anticipate, but I don’t expect that whatever action they take, it will come easy, or without a hefty price. I expect many twists and turns ahead. They are way out of their element, and in over their heads.
We should be prepared for anything to happen from this point on. Who knows, maybe the FDW might get turned again, so they can take another ‘run’ at it. Turning back the ‘hands of time’ on Lost, isn’t news to us. You know what they say, ‘if, at first you don’t succeed”’