Destiny vs. Free Will, always has been, always will be.

With all of the good vs. evil, God vs. Satan, black vs. white imagery in the incident parts 1 & 2, I think many of us have missed the most obvious and over arching imagery in this show. Destiny vs. Free Will.

The conversation between the ominous Man in Black (MiB) and Jacob has many symbolic qualities, although I think many of us have missed what they actually were discussing.

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19 thoughts on “Destiny vs. Free Will, always has been, always will be.

  1. I do like this theory, but while reading it I had a thought. Many people are assuming that within the free-will / destiny theme running through the show which has been bought up in the latest episode with Jacob as standing for free-will – BUT if you think about the conversation, MIB says “I know, you brought them here.” That doesn’t sound like free-will to me, being brought to some unknown island by some unknown man. It seems we have been equating free-will with a higher power intervening and destiny/fate with a lack of action by this same or similar power. What if MIB’s statements about coming, fighting, corrupting and dying is more about leaving the people on the island to make their own decisions – they may not be good, positive but they are their own choices (free-will). I guess this thought then raises questions about the human race as a whole – what we tend to do with our ‘free-will’ as communities? Just a thought.

  2. Best theory since the finale, hands down.

    Lost Prophet, this is exactly what I think the show is truly about.

    I think it is beginning to be on a higher plane than just “time” as we know it, and I cannot express how excited I am to see this posted.

    I have been hanging around not commenting on much, but you need commended.

    My only request now, is take this and try to run into something of where we are headed.

    I have been reading your theories/comments and love your style.
    I can tell immediatley you are a conspiracy theorist, I caught the clue I think ;], your thought process gets my wheel turning again, please keep the line of thought going.

  3. I like what you have to say, I like that it steps away from good vs. evil. However I feel like, if your point of view is correct it would be more like free will vs. destined to kill, and destroy. The other side is not just saying that things are set in stone, he’s saying that all human existence is destined to ultimately destroy each other. This is not just destiny, its prescribed destiny. And I feel angry about this, because if its destiny, why does he try to help the “destiny” along? It sort of does resemble god vs. devil more than destiny vs. free will. The terms you chose are objective, which man in black, and probably Jacob, are anything but. They aren’t just discussing their theories, they aren’t philosophies, they are entities actively attempting to affect the outcome. This sounds like more of a god vs devil situation to me, don’t you think? After all, if you take away the god or devil affecting anything in humanity, isn’t the actual theme free will(god) vs. destiny(devil)? The thing that makes it different, I think, is that since there are entities actively trying to change what is true, there is more at stake than two ideas, there are two beings doing indirect battle for their desired outcome.
    God vs. Satan analogy seems to fit that definition better than free will vs. destiny. That said, there is no reason it can’t be both.

    If you’ve ever listened to JJ Abrams speak, you’ll know that his main objective is to get people into the mystery. The “mystery box” is his inspiration.
    Those who haven’t seen this should def watch it.

    Almost every theory here can be the right.
    His objective is to keep us wondering, considering the possibilities, because that’s the best part about a mystery. Not the truth, the wondering.
    So in closing, I think the TRUTH, is this: our theories, our ideas. The creator made it so that this would happen. This, our ideas, is his masterpiece, not the show itself. I’ve got to say I’m quite impressed. I’ve never had a show do this to me before. I’m sad that its going to end. But I’ll enjoy every mysterious second. 🙂

  4. Haha, I would be called a bit of a conspiracy theorist by many, although I would not call myself that. Things are no longer conspiracy’s when the incidents are predicted, although I digress….

    I’m glad you like this idea A.E.S. and I’d encourage you to try and expand on it as well as I am only one mind, and I’m positive that this is going to take a bunch of us to be able to figure out. I’ve got another theory on the incident that plays into all of this a bit and I’ll try to hav a post up in a little bit on that topic.

  5. I love this theory too, because I really think you have hit on an important fact. I was thinking about that same argument when I watched it, but didn’t have a great way to put it into words, and as I was reading it, I actually was thinking the same thing Tas was. I believe you may have the theory correct about the teams and the sides, but that the roles of Jacob and MIB are reversed. I believe that Jacob is the destiny man, trying to do things to make things happen, and that MIB is the free-will man, trying to let people do whatever they do, and not do things “for the sake of progress” That doesn’t necessarily tell us which side of the fence we as viewers should be on in terms of the right side to root for, but I think that original John Locke was preaching destiny, and was *originally* following Jacob, then when he died and MIB took over his body, now all of a sudden he is preaching free-will and killing Jacob. So I think their roles are opposite of what you said.

  6. ediddy, glad you enjoyed the idea I presented. I kind of had a feeling that many people would feel that the roles of Jacob and MiB need to be flipped, however I think that is more what we ‘want’ to see than what we will see. If re-watch The Incident’s scene were Ben kills Jacob, it seems clear that he wants Ben to have a choice. Also I think that we may think of Jacob as a man of Destiny because all of his followers seem to base their lives on Destiny, however, I think the Others may not have been following Jacob for a while now. Ben states that he has never seen Jacob before, and that he got all of these lists from Richard… seems to me that Richard is a bit of a man behind a curtain now. Also it seems that if anything all Jacob did was give lists to Richard, it was probably Richard who interpreted this information and really told the Others what they were supposed to do.

    Not too different from the United States…. that’s for you A.E.S.

  7. LostProphet, I definately see your point, and you very well may be correct. We could also look at Jacobs actions when he allowed Ben to kill him as destiny though. If Jacob and all of his followers were originally followers of the destiny scheme, then perhaps Jacob knew this was his ultimate end, and that was his destiny, and he had to allow Ben to kill him. Jacob himself said, “it only ends once.” Maybe this was his end and he knew it. Not everyone will subscribe to this theory, and I’m not sure I do, but I am offering an alternate point of view in the hopes that we get some good discussion on the topic, as I think this is a great theory.

  8. I would also like to throw in a little bit about your “teams”

    I think that you are right about the Others originally following Jacob and being duped by MIB into following Locke, and therefore him, so they are the grey area here. I think they are destiny people like Jacob, with the lists that were made and given to Ben from Jacob, but have now been conned into following a false leader. Notice Richards reluctance to follow the “new” John Locke? I think its because they are destiny subscribers and the new John Locke is talking about free-will and makign their own choices. “We have all been led to believe that we are supposed to take order from Jacob, although none of us have ever met him.” That sounds alot like a man of free-will convincing people to free themselves of Jacob, who is trying to make things happen. I also think that the Losties are on team Jacob, which is the destiny team, and that is why we see him visit them as kids, and why they are now fulfilling their destiny by being in 1977 and causing/not causing the incident.

    There is some more to back up my theory that their roles need to be flipped from your theory, but overall, your theory is sound.

  9. Dharma Dancer, I made these two teams as just a guess, honestly. My reasoning for placing Desmond on the team of Destiny is because I think he will not become involved again unless Eloise Hawking talks him into it, and I feel that Eloise wanted Jacob dead and has been a women of Destiny. Also I think Desmond has been convinced by Eloise and his lack of being able to save Charlie that he can not change things, because they will always course correct.

    I’d like to add that I do not think that the two sides we will see in the sixth season will be one that we all like and one that we all don’t, hence the intermixing. I think the writers are smart and want the viewer to have to make a choice of their own and I think the only way to do that is by putting compelling characters on both sides of this war.

  10. I think that Desmond being convinced that he can’t change things because they will course correct sound like destiny to me, not free-will. =)

  11. This is the way I think its being set up:

    TEAM DESTINY: Jacob, Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Sun, Jin, Hurley, Juliette, Illana, Bram, Desmond

    TEAM FREE-WILL: MIB-As Locke, Ben, Eloise, Charles, and currently the Others including Richard, I think once the Others realize who New Locke is, they will switch teams, and that will be that.

  12. ediddy, i understand where you are coming from, but it seems a bit boring to have only the others and MiB on the one side. Especially if once the Others find out about MiB and switch sides, then it’s everyone against MiB.

    Also Eloise is pretty obviously a follower of Destiny, IMO, so I could not see her on the free will side.

  13. It seems Eloise is the one that is screwing everything up though. I find it hard to see her in the destiny camp because she sent everyone back knowing that they would go back in time. If she thought everything would course correct whether they went back or not, why would she even need to send them back? I think she thought that she needed them there in order to get things to happen that wouldn’t happen if she wasn’t making decisions. That seems like free-will and trying to control things.

    Your right it seems kind of boring if the others switch sides and we have everyone vs MIB, so maybe they won’t. Maybe they will continue following MIB and we have our sides. It would be ironic and totally Lost-like to end up having Ben and Widmore end up on the same side of the fight.

  14. I think people will switch back and forth as they have always done. Jack, Kate , Sawyer etc. have all changed their minds in the past and they do seem to be the variables. Ilana threw in her support for Jacob but we have no idea what that means yet. The others strangely seem to be mostly made up of followers and now that they are actually leaderless with the real Locke being dead who knows what they will do, I think they’ll just listen to Richard. It’s hard to decide which of the two, Jacob and M.I.B. ( a Dark Tower reference?), represents fate\ destiny and freewill. There are arguments either way.

  15. TheLostProphet, I love your thoughts and ideas, and also agree that this IS the premise of Lost.

    Two ideologies that are different in nature and opposed to one another!

    Many people do not feel comfortable in subscribing to the notion, that God grants us free will, but rather believe that we are fated to lives we have no say in and no control over. That our lives are pre-destined, or already scripted, and that we blindly follow orders without question, or independent thought.

    The very notion of free will, can be a frightening thought, as it places responsibility on the individual for their ‘lot in life’.

    A great example of this is with John Locke. He was told by Richard that he had to die, and he never even questioned it. He blindly accepted that it was his destiny. He never gave any thought to how he might have succeeded in reuniting the ’06’, with less drastic measures.

    John Locke did not exercise his own ‘free will’, and therefore he died. He thought it was his destiny.

    Now we see Jack, who has done a full 360 degree turn, be the man who is exercising his own ‘free will’, by believing he can make a difference, that he can change or effect an outcome. Whether Jack’s mission succeeds or fails, is unimportant. Whatever happens, it was not his destiny, but his own free will that he applied.

    With black and white, there are ‘the grey areas’. I suspect there will be some surprises in store, to see who falls on either side of the equation, in the long run!

    The very nature and essence of Jacob and his Nemesis are indicative of what is to come.

    I totally agree with AES. This certainly is one of the best theories that has been posted since the finale! Good work!

    Great work!

  16. really good read!

    perhaps the teams at the end can play in a world cup final? i think sawyer would make a great defender! hohoho!

    i dont agree with all the metaphors for good and evil, like the white and black, thats a very western thing, so i like yor take on this very much!

    i would ponder that if one is destiny and one is free will, then if expanded upon, which out of jacob and the other guy, has the best intentions, but well have to wait till season6 for that i guess!

    great post!


  17. TheLostProphet, Thank goodness, my comment finally showed up! It was so lengthy, I thought I might have stalled the system! lol

  18. Well LP, You summon the monster, allow me to vent/rant for a moment.I have been dabling with a theory on the subject of chaos vs structure, and lost focus for a bit, so I’ll present thought that I have so far here.

    You see, your points on destiny and free will, I believe, in the Lost world, holds a more important meaning than just good or evil, and doesnt even have to represent god or satan or religion vs science…not to say that it doesnt, it just doesnt have to.

    It seems that some of the discussions/rants/debates of the last year consisted of MANY topics revolving around the idea of changing or not changing things that have occured in the past…

    When in turn, it should have been about SHOULD one change the past if able to?
    It went from being ridiculous to being “you and Kate wont know each other” or “if I never met you, I wouldnt have to lose you”.
    Almost cowardice acts by people who cannot accept what they did, or choices that they have made. Not to say that Jack did or didnt, or wont or will, but should he?
    But these two men, Jacob and whoever the other man turns out to be, know something that it seems no one else could possibly know or understand.
    When they speak of “the end”, and “everything before”, its as if they are in more of a personal battle with each other, then the fate of mankind to these two “god-like” men who seem to posses capabilities that we wouldnt dream to imagine someone possessing… like being able to look like someone else, and know things that they know, or knowing things are going to happen, one way or another, and existing in a form that you are able to not only be there when they do for support and guigance, ala John falling out of the window. Or stepping in to say simple words, to ensure that some one DOES, or another DOES NOT get hit and kiled by a car.

    A think although Jacob gives off a feel that he is doing the “good” thing by directing and guiding some to destinations they are “supposed” to go to, the other man seems as if he feels that if one cannot reach their “destiny” with free will…then it is simply not their destiny. Upon seeing what is most likely BlackRock, says something to the tune of “You brought them here…” to Jacob.
    And the idea that Jack Shepard is willing to risk the lives of the Losties on the island to save all the people that died and suffered on the there over the years and himself pain and death seems greedy and small I guess you could say…

    What if what Jacob is doing is meant to save more on the humanity of the world. It is possible that many are correct in assuming that the island is the only thing left on earth. With the time traveling capabilities that exist, I believe that Jacob is possibly disturbing the natural order of things to help hinder or halt the resulting chaos that would occur in the process of doing so, while the other man seems to not want these things, but to let “whatever happened, happen”.

    I believe these things as much as I believe that these two men will be the most important characters in the long run of Lost..,which is about 50/50 right now.
    I don’t believe that we have seen the last of Jacob, but I also dont believe that we have seen the last of John Locke either.
    I don’t mean the John that is being possessed or simulated by Jacob’s opposite, I mean the John Locke that was willing to give his life for the island out of faith, attempted out of dispair, and was taken by Ben and given on a platter to the island/ Jacob’s friend out of hatred and jealousy….and is in the box that the Ajira team carries.
    I find it very difficult to grasp the idea that that John Locke is out of our lives.
    I have stood like what some view as a sucker by John for 5 seasons now, and am going to roll the dice of destiny, and stand there until the series finale concludes.

    Hope I helped a little, and am going to try to push a few more ideas out later in the week.
    Again great theory and thought in general going back to some initial theory roots.

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