Time keeps on skipping skipping skipping…

In Season 5 up to the point when Locke resets the wheel back on axis, most of my attention was focused on all the circumstances the Losties were going through at each time skipping event. Rewatching Season 5, I was more focused on understanding the physics behind the crazy time skipping. In episode 1 Daniel did a great job comparing it to a record skipping, and I remember also he gave the explanation in another episode of time being along a string. But just like Sawyer slapped Daniel in the face out of time travel frustrations, I felt like giving my own slap to Daniel or even JJ Abrams and all the Lost writers for allowing the absurd notion of objects traveling along with the Losties, such as the outrigger or the zodiac boat, or the rope at the well Sawyer was holding on to!

Related to that, Daniel didn’t have a confident answer as to whether the Island was traveling through time, or if they themselves were traveling through time. My immediate reaction when that question was asked was; isn’t it both? If you were an observer on the island watching one of the Losties disappear during a flash (such as Richard with Locke, or Rousseau with Jin), you would definitely say it was the Losties experiencing time travel. But I can see Daniel’s confusion, because from their own perspective, it’s the island disappearing. So let’s just suppose, the Losties touch a bunch of objects before a flash, such as the boat, a tree, a rock, a tent at the beach camp; it would be consistent that they bring all those objects with them to the next time event. Silly, but logical. OK, stretch the silliness even more; touch a thousand objects, even roll on the beach sand, and after a flash you carry the thousand objects and part of the beach with you. Ridiculous. Oh man, I’m so ready to slap Daniel as I’m writing this…

But wait, maybe this isn’t so silly after all. What if a flash happened and you somehow brought the entire island with you? And when I say entire island, I mean every detail; air, sand, water, hatches, everything. Hmm….. that would mean from your perspective, nothing really happened at all. Because if you took the entire island with you, there’s nothing to compare to what time would be (where the record player skipped to), and what the time was (where the record player skipped from). The only change that would actually take place is a difference in time on and off the island, or vice versa. OK, now we’re getting somewhere. If this all sounds familiar; it’s what makes the island unique in the first place!

So far, the physics of Lost island behavior has established that the location of the island is dependent on the current time in the real world off the island, pretty straightforward. Not simply location in terms of latitude, longitude; you’ll also need to approach the island at a determined bearing; the physics of that part only somebody like Daniel could explain (OK Daniel slap right now!!). Season 5 added a little more to the island physics by showing that, by changing the current time on the island, it effectively moves the island also! So what I’m proposing is, the location (or bearing to) the island depends on more than just the current time off the island; it depends on the differences in time on and off the island, how much they are out of sync. I suppose the island was slightly out of sync even before the wheel moved off axis; remember the time difference(s) to the freighter?

Another complication in the physics was Mrs. Hawking’s explanation of how the Lighthouse station worked (Dharma station inside the church in California). She explained that since the island is always moving, in order to locate the island, you must anticipate where it will be. So the island is always moving. (OK a big slap in the face to Daniel’s mother too!) Which means that the location of the island depends on how much time is out of sync on and off the island, and also what the current time is off the island (and also maybe dependent on whatever that Focalt pendulum was measuring too? Physics getting deep here..) So what does it mean to move the island, if the island is already moving? Well, I guess that means since the island is moving in a predictable fashion, by changing island time you suddenly move it unpredictably. I’m sure that during the flashes, it was awfully difficult to locate the island. Perhaps that’s the problem Widmore had during his past attempts to locate the island, the same problem the Oceanic 6 had when they witnessed the island disappear in front of their eyes.. (OK slap myself so I will stop writing! The end!) 🙂

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It's 9:00pm, on Sunday, May 23rd, 2010, and The End is near..

2 thoughts on “Time keeps on skipping skipping skipping…

  1. a couple things. if you “take the island with you” wouldn’t people who didn’t skip drown in the water now that the island isnt there (like the others and richard when locke flashes away the first time). didnt happen… you have to be allowed to take things with you or they would travel naked every time, and any food you are in the process of digesting would be gone, etc… how do you define when that food becomes a part of you and when it is being digested? this simplifies things.

    i dont believe the islands movement is due to its being out of sync. i believe it is a general property of the island. even after locke fixed the wheel (stopped the skipping, set the pin in the groove, whatever) the ajira flight still had flashes for some people.

    i think daniel knew what was going on with the island movement. but couldnt describe it to someone without a physics degree, although he did try.

  2. Eckolocation, thanks for your comments..
    I don’t think we’re that much out of agreement though.. I agree with all three of your points to some degree:
    1. You have to be allowed to take things with you when you flash
    2. the island movement is a general property of the island
    3. Daniel understood the island’s movement

    First point, if they couldn’t take things with them, you’re absolutely right, things would be even more crazy; such as them being naked or drowning out in the water without the outrigger. So it simplifies the story, but I think it complicates the physics. Even bringing the dead hairs on your head along with you, opens the door to making it arbitrary to what flashes with time. Without going into an actual time machine, and everything within that time machine moving in time, it’s hard to quantify why some things moved and some things didn’t..

    Second point on the island moving; let me clarify that I wasn’t saying that the wheel off axis means the island is out of sync. Even with the wheel on axis, I believe time on/off the island is out of sync; therefore the island is always moving (I’m proposing, not saying you agree..). Conversely if you made time on and off the island in sync, it wouldn’t be moving (I’m proposing..)

    Third point, I definitely agree with you that Daniel knew what was going on, he just couldn’t explain it.. And him being confused to whether or not the people or the island was moving, doesn’t mean he didn’t understand the physics.. That part is just a matter of perspective from the observer..

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