Desmond’s ‘Conscious Flashes’

At the beginning of the premiere, Flight #815 is safely on its way to LA from Sydney. There are some familiar faces seen from the original flight and some who are conspicuously missing. The reason for this is, when the timeline changed it changed other very important circumstances in their lives that negated them being on the plane in the ‘alternative’ timeline. We will learn how implementing ‘the incident’ changed the course of history.

However, there is one person in particular who wasn’t on the original flight of #815 for a very good reason. On that particular day in the previous or original timeline, when ‘the incident’ occurred he was in the Swan Station monitoring a button that required pushing every 108 minutes. This person was Desmond David Hume.

Even though an ‘alternate timeline’ has occurred, there would be no logical reason as to why Desmond would have appeared on the flight that we are aware of, let alone sitting down beside Jack, engaging in a brief conversation and then all but vanish in ‘mid-air’. Desmond had crash-landed on ‘the island’ during a boat race in the ‘pre-incident’ timeline. We have yet to learn what course of events Desmond is presently living under as a result of the ‘alternate’ timeline occurring in his own life. There is, however a very good reason why Desmond may have appeared in the ‘alternate’ timeline of flight #815.

Over the past few seasons we’ve learned that Desmond has the unique ability to ‘conscious flash’ to other time periods, both on and off of ‘the island’. We’ve also learned that Desmond became Daniel Faraday’s ‘Constant’. This also occurred, while happily living off of ‘the island’ in the ‘pre-incident’ timeline with Penny and son Charlie, when Desmond awoke one night from a dream of sorts with a message from Daniel Faraday (that he had no recall of), to deliver an urgent message to Eloise Hawking on Daniel’s behalf.

In mathematical equation we have learned about ‘constants’ in addition to ‘variables’, their meaning and importance. Daniel Faraday told Jack that ‘the losties’ were the ‘variables’ that could change the equation and also change the original fate of Flight #815 by creating ‘the incident’. It appears that this was successful, and the ‘alternate’ timeline occurred.

When Jack initially encounters Desmond in the Stadium, I believe he encountered Desmond while he was ‘conscious flashing’. They have a discussion regarding miracles and Desmond says to Jack, “you’ve got to lift it up”, and making subtle reference. He concludes the conversation by saying “see you in another life, brutha”.

Although we are presently unaware of the circumstances of him appearing on flight #815 in the ‘alternate’ timeline, I believe this was Desmond’s attempt to initiate Jack’s recollection of the ‘pre-incident’ timeline that he and his fellow ‘losties’ just emerged from with little ‘conscious memory’ of. When Jack returns from the washroom, he encounters Desmond in the seat next to him. After a short introduction, Jack looks nervously at him and Desmond says to Jack, “Nice to meet you, Jack…or to see you again”. He proceeds to laugh and then sighs.

Therefore, as a ‘Constant’ it makes sense that it will be Desmond who will provide Jack with enough ‘déjà vu’ experiences to awaken Jack’s ‘conscious mind’ and provide sufficient recall of his previous life on ‘the island’. In turn, I suspect that Jack will seek out the other characters that will undoubtedly be experiencing their own ‘déjà vu’ experiences and he will serve as ‘awakener’ of their ‘conscious’ memories. I also expect that whatever has been altered in Desmond’s own life will eventually bring him into physical contact with some of the characters.

I expect that Desmond will be able to provide them via his ‘conscious flashing’ abilities with enough necessary information and recall about their previous ‘island’ life for the characters to assume whatever ‘course’ they are supposed to follow in the future, and become ‘one’ with ‘the island’ again and resolve the situation. Coincidentally, Desmond is reading a book on the plane by British Indian writer Salman Rushdie entitled Haroun and the Sea of Stories. “It is a phantasmagorical story set in a city so old and ruinous that it has forgotten its name”. The Synopsis on Wikipedia makes some interesting and ‘subtle’ references.

Share with fellow Losties

Written by


~ Contrary to popular misconception, karma has nothing to do with punishment and reward. It exists as part of our holographic universe’s binary or dualistic operating system only to teach us responsibility for our creations—and all things we experience are our creations. ~

47 thoughts on “Desmond’s ‘Conscious Flashes’

  1. Correction to the second paragraph in my theory: It should read as follows:

    However, there is one person in particular who wasn’t on the original flight of #815 for a very good reason. On that particular day in the previous or original timeline, ****prior to ‘the incident’ occurring**** he was in the Swan Station monitoring a button that required pushing every 108 minutes. This person was Desmond David Hume.

    My apologies

  2. Dabs, I really like the idea that Desmond will act as a trigger for the Losties’ memories. It makes perfectsense with what we have seen so far. Another thought occurred to me while reading this. Do you think that Desmond’s consciosness will always perpetually jump, kind of like the way Sam’s ends up doing in the finale of Quantum Leap?

  3. Hi Achalli, fortunately they still show re-runs of Quantum Leap, so I understand what you are saying.

    I feel that Desmond is alive in the ‘alternate’ timeline, but his life circumstances might be different than before. It may take some time, before ALL of the characters become fully ‘consciously’ aware.

    I believe that when that occurs, the characters will come together and take some sort of action. I am uncertain of what that might be at present.

    I think we have more story to come, before I am able to speculate on that.

    Thanks for your comment!

  4. I never thought about Daniel using his Constant. I knew Faraday planted a memory in Desmond, but forgot he used him as a constant. I think it was the end of season 4 that Daniel wrote down in his Journal Desmond was to be his constant. Thanks for pointing that out.

    I think that Desmond is doing some controlled flashing. He seems all of a sudden to be a major player in this alt time line. I did a little theory in the fun section about the two scenes you point out called running stairs.

    One question and course I could be wrong since I am doing this from memory. But as far as Desmond flashing during the stadium scene. Didn’t he have a conversation with Penny right before he encountered Jack at the Stadium. They talked about her waiting for him to get back from his race and then they could be together. He also confronted her about her upcoming marriage. Of course this still could be his consciousness flashing.

  5. PS: Achalli, one further note regarding Desmond is, when he first receives ‘flashes’ regarding Charlie’s death he is quite confused.

    Once he figures out that he has the ability to alter Charlie’s course and manner of death, he does so in the interest of what is best.

    I feel that Desmond will also do the same thing in the ‘alternate’ timeline, once his own ‘conscious’ memories become apparent.

  6. Hi Ifoundmyloophole, I think you make a valid point regarding the Stadium and Desmond’s conversation with Penny, prior to meeting up with Jack.

    I am unsure of how Desmond’s ‘conscious’ flashes actually work. The only thought that I have on that is, that at some level Desmond may be just as unaware of the impact of his statements, as they are to the people that are hearing them.

    I suspect that at some point, we will receive clarification on those issues.

    You are correct about Desmond. His importance in how things will eventually play out, makes him a ‘key’ player.

    Thanks for your comment and input.

  7. Hey their delila it’s been a while hope you ok I like your ideas just thought I would throw something out their and see if it has any relavence to your theory. In the alt timeline penny and Daniel should not exist if jughead went off Charles and elli should of died on the island so they could not of been born so desmond never fell in love and felt the need to do a boat race and get stuck on a island. So maybe desmond was just conducting his own buisness and was on the flight by chance. I also like the idea that DES has the ability to flash between the 2 timelines and he will see that everyones life is better with the island around including his own because he has penny and somehow tries to merge the 2 together

  8. Hi Samson, I think what seems to be confusing is, that we have our characters in two places at the same time.

    On ‘the island’ and in an ‘alternate reality’ where #815 never crashed.

    We have to consider their ‘conscious’ memories, which at this point hasn’t come to surface yet. The off ‘island’ characters will eventually begin the process of recollection and eventually the on ‘island’ characters will do relatively the same thing at some point.

    It is a given, that the history of our characters, might mean some dramatic changes, albeit not quite as dramatic as one might think.

    They are on the same ‘road’ so to speak. They have just taken another ‘route’ to get there, is all.

    Currently, there is no explanation for why Desmond disappeared in mid-flight. He was also NOT seen at the Airport in LA. But, neither was Shannon, (her circumstances changed) or Libby, (perhaps she never gave the boat to Desmond) and Ana Lucia, (perhaps she never accompanied Christian to Australia).

    I feel there are going to be many differences in the lives of the characters. Maybe ‘change’ isn’t so good….or is it?

    Thanks for your comment and input!

  9. Hm, we know that Desmond was in a race around the world when he ended up on the island. Where was the race supposed to end? Sydney maybe? Maybe in the alt time, Des won the race, got his respect back (and won the respect of Widmore), and married Penny (and started working for Widmore). Maybe three years later (2004) he is in Sydney for some Widmore business associated with the race that he won in 2001? Pure speculation obviously.

  10. Very interesting. I do think Desmond is going to be important.

    Does anyone else feel like they should really think about their decisions? This show is very much teaching me that every decision has a ripple effect.

  11. Hey Dabs, that was a good read, and left me with a couple of questions for you 🙂

    1. We learned that Desmond was sitting in a cramped crappy seat on the plane, and that he claimed a vacant seat next to Jack for a portion of the trip. Then later he has “disappeared”. How come you didn’t just assume that he had gone back to his original seat? That was the assumption that i made while watchign it, but maybe i missed something. Just wanted to hear you thoughts.

    2. I can’t understand why Desmond would have conscious flashing abilities in the alternate timeline…because he wouldn’t have gone to the island and been exposed to crazy amounts of radiation, or whatever, and wouldn’t have travelled along the bearing to initiate the flashes in the first place, no?? I’m confused…

    I tend to lean towards you being correct on this thery, that this is a serious contender for how they will bring the show to a close. but there’s these questions that bug me, and i better get the answers now i guess…so i don’t blow my face off with a shotgun when the series ends and i dont understand what just happened hahaha. Thanks Dabs!

  12. sarajs 16, I feel that when they made the decision to detonate the core of Jughead, little to no thought about how that might effect and impact their lives and the lives of other people, was considered. These are some of the consequences they will have to learn to deal with and overcome.

    In addition, once that becomes evident to them, they may place more consideration into future choices.

    Thanks for your comment and your interest!

  13. Hi Bailey 1227, you raise very good questions. The first question, I answered in one of the comments above.

    Desmond was not seen at the airport in LA. That might not be more of an assumption than it is an observation.

    I have also attempted to explain how ‘conscious’ memory works. They are currently living their lives in two places. One on ‘the island, and the other in the ‘alternate’ reality of the real world, where #815 landed safely. Are their physical bodies in two places? Or, for the sake of the story, are we ONLY seeing what would have happened if Flight #815 landed safely.

    The latter is what I surmise and that is why they will ALL have ‘conscious’ memory of the events eventually, which will merge at some point in time.

    You are certainly right about Desmond’s importance.

    Thanks for your questions. I have answered them to the best of my ability. I hope that it helps Bailey.

    Put the gun down!

    Thanks for your comment and questions.

  14. Could I just ask a quick question, do you think Des was on the plane and his original timeline consciousness flashed into him, or that he physically appeared then disappeared? I thought when he consciousness flashed he just jumped into his physical body already existing in another time period.
    Your comment to Sarjs 16 ties in to thoughts I had in Lost as a morality tale – I agree that the losties will start to consider their choices more carefully. I also like that it encourages us as the viewer to also see the consequences and maybe think about our own lives.

  15. Tas, when Desmond ‘flashes’ from the Swan Station, he is transported to the past and interacts with people from his past. We still note some differences with what occurs between him and Charlie, and Nadia, in addition to his interactions at the Pub.

    When Desmond ‘flashes’ from the freighter he ‘flashes’ to different time periods in his life as well.

    While it is possible that Desmond was on the plane, I find it unlikely. He was not on the original flight, but his life circumstances may have altered that. Desmond is nowhere to be found after he engages Jack in brief conversation.

    Shannon, Ana Lucia, Libby and Ecko are not on the flight either. All of whom could have had circumstances occur in their lives that would have negated their being on flight #815.

    You are correct about ‘the losties’ and characters choices. They have altered the future in ways that we have not seen what the result of their choices will be.

    It is more than a tale of morality. It is what happens when you pit Free Will/Choice against Fate and Determination. The Universe will self-correct, as stated and demonstrated by Ms. Hawking to Desmond.

    Desmond knows that more than any other person who was on ‘the island’.

    Thanks for the comments, questions and input.

  16. I guess I’ll have to agree to disagree then, I don’t think Des transported, his mind skipped, his physical body didn’t go anywhere or else there would have been two Des’s in the past.
    I agree that his experiences and what happened to him will be essential to what happens this season, just don’t think he appears and vanishes (when people do that on the show there’s the white and purple flash)
    And we do disagree on how we view free will and fate, always have, always will 🙂

  17. Tas, as mentioned in the title of my theory, It says “Desmond’s Conscious Flashes”. In my comment to Bailey1227, I mentioned that the writers are showing us what would have occurred if flight #815 were to have landed safely.

    The fact that we see anyone physically on ‘the island’ and off of ‘the island’ at the same time, should clarify that position, in additions to the comments above yours.

  18. I agree with Samson & Bailey1227, If Jughead went off in ’77 then Charles Widmore would most likely die along with everyone on the Island (I’m guessing??) & Penny would never be & Desmond’s Alt life would surely be different.

    I don’t know how ‘conscious flashes’ work but the conversation between Desmond & Jack was way too one sided for me to believe that Desmond knew anything of his Alt life.

    It seemed Jack is the one who remembers Desmond & sparks the conversation but it seemed if Desmond was totally unaware while Jack is the one somewhat remembering. I do find it strange that all that Jack has been through with John, Charlie, Sayid, Rose, Bernard, Boone, Cindy, & of course Kate that Jack only starts to get this Deja Vu by talking with Desmond.(?)

    An I agree that Desmond is special because he can conscious flash so he’s kind of like our wild card but I always felt he had that ability because of the Islands power’s or whatever, maybe being that close to the magnet for so long or something like that so with no Island interaction is it possible???

    Also we have seen Desmond conscious flash back in time & we have seen him change the future (Charlie dying) so he had to have seen this somehow. We seen him receive a message from the past from Faraday but all of that was in his ‘Reality’ & his timeline ‘pre-incident’ so Is it possible for Desmond to Flash through Alt Realities???

  19. The tailies may be “missing”, but by the same token I think the main reason we didn’t see Libby/Eko/Anna Lucia was they were in the tail section and we simply didn’t visit there. We didn’t see the tailies in the pilot episode either.

    (Besides, having them in LA X if they weren’t needed for the mechanics of this particular episode would cost extra $$$) 🙂

  20. Hi Bing, I can see why people are questioning the ‘what if Jughead exploded in 1977’. I’m not ignoring that issue. The truth is, I don’t have the answer for that. The show hasn’t taken us that far along for me to speculate.

    You make valid points in terms of the conversation that occurred between Jack and Desmond. It is difficult to know who initiated whose memory first. I would only say that while Jack appears to have some recognition of Desmond, that it is Desmond’s words that serves to trigger further memory in Jack.

    I agree with your thoughts on Desmond and his close proximity to exposure to ‘electromagnetism’ for such a good length of time, being something that has enhanced his abilities.

    You really have a great understanding of how ‘conscious’ flashing works on the show.

    Great comment, Bing!

  21. You could be right about that YoJimbo, but I think we will end up seeing how ‘the incident’ has altered things on a grand scale, that nobody took under consideration.

    I totally get what you are saying, in terms of the extra $$$ though. I think this show can afford it, or at least hope that they can.

    I really have a feeling that the writers will throw several plot twists at us that we weren’t expecting.

    Thanks for you comment.

  22. Thank you but It was your post that got me thinking so I thank you Dabs. I do agree with you that Jack will be the “Awakener” of everyone else’s Alt Reality in someway because his realities seem to be bleeding together, Literally (His Neck).

    I do understand what you mean by the conversation between Jack & Desmond, that Desmond really started the spark in Jack is when Desmond says “Brotha” & it could just be a usual saying for Desmond kind of like australian’s say “mate” or Canadiens saying “Ay” or “Eh” whichever works but im sure you understand what im getting at.

    An im not trying to crush your theory & im not expecting you to know all the answers or anything like that. If you believe that Des was aware of this Alt life then wouldnt he kind of be freaking out not being with his love Penny & his Child?

    Even if he is dreaming this in what im guessing is 2007 for him still, then wouldnt it be strange that he is on a plane with people he knows & he seems so subtle & collected when talking to Jack, why not ask him whats going on? Because we seen him conscious flash with full memory & him confused mostly when he flashes or maybe he simply just forgot I dont know I may have confused myself sorry.

  23. Hi Bing, I think we all agree with certain aspects here, and we can only speculate on the areas which haven’t been introduced to us yet.

    Even if Desmond turns out to be on #815, it wouldn’t negate the point that his interactions with Jack serves as a vehicle for ‘conscious’ memory to be awakened. And, that that would benefit both of them. Given Desmond’s abilities to alter events, he has the ability to alter the course.

    Desmond says to Jack: “Nice to meet you Jack, or to see you again”. This tells me that Desmond did recall more than he lets on.

    Whatever Desmond is presently doing in life and/or how he is living it, he will also be striving to have full recall and do whatever he can, to bring about the best resolve for all involved.

    We will have to let Lost tell us what is happening in the lives of the characters and how this impacts directly and indirectly on their lives and the peoples lives it will effect.

    Your thoughts are always welcome! Hope this helps.

  24. I really like your writing style and theory. Well done.

    PS the black rock must have sunk and landed directly on the island when it was under the sea!

    but what implications does that have?!

  25. I agree that Lost has one more Desmond centric-flashing episode up its sleeve. The fans love those episodes and why else tell us about his power unless it comes into play in the end game. How about this. He flashes from one time line into the other.

  26. P.S. I think we have to get a short Juliette flash now as well. How else does she know it worked. That also provides some evidence that when a character does a Swan flash, it crosses over to the other time line.

  27. HurleyBird, your first comment about Desmond’s circumstances changing makes a lot of sense.

    Although we are not aware of what changes have occurred at present time, you make a good example of the types of changes, which could occur.

    Your second comment on Flannery O’Connors book, Everything that Rises must Converge, gives way to the following excerpt on Wikipedia:

    “Remain true to yourself, but move ever upward toward greater consciousness and greater love! At the summit you will find yourselves united with all those who, from every direction, have made the same ascent. For everything that rises must converge.”

    Thanks for making mention of this and also for your comments.

  28. I posted a comment earlier & see it didn’t go through… I love the idea of Desmond meeting up w/ Jack while conscious flashing, but we do know that Desmond was in LA at the time b/c that is where he met Libby. Then, Libby gave him the boat, and he made it to the island… So Des was definitely in LA. I’d love it if Des could consciouly flash to wherever he wants to.

  29. Hi Sinster, Desmond was not on the original flight of #815 because he was in the Swan Station on that date in 2004. He was the person who was responsible for #815 crashing on ‘the island’. He failed to push the button.

    Desmond was definitely in LA, but the question is, when? It wasn’t on the day that Oceanic #815 crashed on ‘the island’.

    Desmond tells Jack when they initially meet on ‘the island’, that he has been in the Swan Station for 3 years already, indicating that he was on ‘the island’ long before the date of the crash.

    We won’t know what has taken place in Desmond’s life and how it’s been affected until we see the repercussions in the ‘alternate’ timeline.

    Thanks for your comment.

  30. My only gripe with your post is that Desmond says “brother,” not “brotha.” His Scottish accent is definitely rhotic. Please forgive me; I had to…

  31. Hey Dabs…

    I realize everything u said already…

    I was saying I liked your theory your theory of how he conscious time traveled to meet Jack running in the stadium. I was just reminding everyone that Des was in LA around the time he bumped into Jack in the stadium b/c he met Libby in LA, and she gifted him her late husband’s boats…

    I totally get he wasn’t on the plan & was in the swant hatch 4 3 years… I’m on my 5th rewarch… LOL

  32. LOL Sinster, I read it as we don’t know. My apologies. I’ve been at the computer way too long today.

    You are way ahead of me on the re-watches, so I will count on your good memory in future.

    Thanks again for your comment, and for clarifying for me. LOL

  33. Great theory Dabsi…

    I love your thoughts on Desmonds concsience flashing, I agree completely.

    Along with the other statements, Des also alludes to Jack that he knows the fate of Sarah, “What if you did fix her?”

  34. I cannot explain how much I like this.

    I always thought Des would play a significant role in the end, and this sums up something spectacular.

    What would possibly make someone, even Des able to achieve such a feat?

  35. One correction…Desmond meets Penny at the stadium before he meets Jack. He saw Jack running up the steps while talking to Penny, thus he didn’t conscious flash.

  36. Good point on Penny, but…
    He did actually conscience flash.

    In flashes before your eyes, he conscience travels to the past, in which Hawking tells him to do everything the same…only he doesnt.

    I have been saying since the scene aired, that Jimmy Lennon hits the bartender in the head with a cricket back in Desmonds original past.
    When he flashes back, he remembers about it, after first getting the incorrect night, Lennon comes in, Des yells duck, bartender ducks…Des gets hit.

    This is the place where change first occurs in the past in Lost.

    From here, we see Desmond wake up at the island rubbing the back of his head. He “flashed to this time period…and back, remembering the change…

    He didnt do everything the same, but we never see what happened after that, we just see Des flashing…we assume he does everything the same, and wakes right where he left off…but he doesnt.

    We only see the new timeline up to that point…then it flashes back to the island.

    I believe what occurs possibly, is an alternate timeline beginning right then…in season three.

    Des is then, flashed to the island right where he left off…his on island conscience stays there, and he retains memories to both timelines, in somewhat the same manner that he is able to obtain a memory from the past when Faraday tellls him to see his mother in LA.

    He does meet Penny at the stadium, then proceeds attempt to instill faith in Jack that he did fix Penny…because Jack already told him at the hatch, when he asked him about it from that timeline.

    Good correction, but I think she is correct in the explanation of Desmonds airline experience with Jack.

  37. AES, thanks for your positive words and statements, in addition to answering Xander’s inquiry.

    I was so hoping that you would make comment on Desmond’s previous ‘flash’ involving Jimmy Lennon!

    I love hearing you relate that story, as it really does explain the true nature of Desmond’s ‘flashes’. That aside, nobody says it better, IMHO.

    To further my thoughts regarding Desmond, he played a major purpose in the original timeline. He was a ‘visionary’. I couldn’t believe that the writers were finished with his character. Ms Hawking makes the following statement to Desmond early in Season 5: ” The ‘island’ is not finished with you Desmond”. Now I understand what Ms. Hawking was referring to.

    When thinking about the original timeline vs the ‘alternate’ timeline, and knowing that they have to merge at some point, voila we see Desmond staring us straight in the face on board Flight #815.

    That was enough to convince me that he will be the ‘visionary’ who will play a pivotal role in Season 6, to act as the ‘awakener’ of the characters ‘conscious’ minds, and perhaps bring a little bit more meaning to the overall story. Desmond does have the innate ability to ‘alter’ endings and make the most out of them.

    Thanks again for your input, AES.

  38. I totally agree that Desmond will play a strong role in somehow ‘bridging’ the Losties and their tangent reality into timeline. As we know the rules dont seem to apply to Desmond, and his appearance on 815 was just too coincidental for my liking. He’s guiding them towards something. I think Christians missing body is also a part of the process.

    I think Desmond will act a little bit like Frank the giant rabbit does in Donnie Darko, it will be his role to bring Jack in particular to some kind of act of faith.

  39. caps_locke, if we have learned anything about Lost, we have learned that there simply are no coincidences. They all have greater meaning and I agree with your take.

    I also believe that what you have stated about Christian Shephard is correct. I think Christian also plays a pivotal role and is definitely a larger piece to one of the bigger mysteries on Lost.

    I fully expect that whatever thoughts we’ve had about Christian, since the beginning of the show, will not disappoint any of us.

    Thanks for your comment and your input!

  40. Hi AES, I definitely think that there is way more to this story myself. I was disappointed that we didn’t receive more information last season.

    I’m not sure of everything at this point, and am awaiting more clues from the upcoming episodes to verify some further thoughts that I have regarding Desmond and how he will fit in.

    This was a good starting point. Would love to hear your thoughts too.

    Thanks again for Jimmy Lennon! That is one that is at the top of my all-time favourites!

Leave a Reply