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LOST Theories So you think you know some secrets of the island? Maybe you can explain everything. If it's original and you can back it up, we'd love to hear it.

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Old 02-10-08, 03:41 PM   #1
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+ What Happened to Desmond--and the Island--When He Turned the Failsafe Key

Okay this is not really a time travel theory. It is more of a time slip theory. What led to these conclusions was reading 3 other threads on the board: MagneticLocke's theory about the flashbacks of the freighter folk in S4E2:

JasonSuave's theory of time travel:

and a post in the Homoplasmates thread back in July:

The last two posters theorized that pushing the button every 108 minutes in the Swan station somehow reset time on the island, so that time is stopped on the island and the island slips ever further back into the past in relation to the rest of the world. The problem is that obviously time is not stopped on the island. Night and day follow each other and the characters go on with their lives. There is not one single 108 minute period that keeps on repeating itself a la the movie Groundhog Day.

That was when I had the idea that maybe it is not that time is reset every 108 minutes. Instead whenever the button is pushed time on the island slips out of sync with off-island time by 108 minutes. I came up with a rather clunky analogy to explain this. Imagine two tape measures 20 feet long laid out next to each other, matched up so that the 10 feet mark on one is right next to the 10 feet mark on the other. Now take the first tape measure and pull it up by 108 inches in relation to the other one. Now 10 feet on the first one is matched up with 1 foot on the second one.

So the first tape measure represents time on the island and the second represents time off-island. Time is passing in its usual way in each place, but the island is getting more and more out of sync with time in the 'real world'. It is sort of like Einstein's twin paradox. Time seems to pass as usual for the twin on the spaceship going near the speed of light, but when he returns to earth he is younger than his twin.

So what happens when Desmond turns the failsafe key and this time slip machine blows up? Dogma's timeline here on the board pegs this day as December 3, 2004 on the island. Well, I speculate that at that moment time on the island is suddenly all at once realigned with time off the island. And what effect does this have on Desmond, who is at ground zero, "the still point of the turning world," as far as this development is concerned. Permit me another clunky analogy. Imagine a baseball resting in the middle of an empty subway car going at an even speed along the tracks. Now imagine this subway car suddenly speeded up so it is going much faster. What happens to the baseball? It rolls quickly back to the end of the car. Now imagine this speeding subway car suddenly stopped. What happens to the baseball. It rolls quickly to the very front of the car. (Actually it would bump against the doors and then roll back and forth a few more times.)

So Desmond is the baseball in the subway car. When time on the island speeds up to catch up with time off island he is thrown into his past. He relives the time he lived with Penny back in London. But then when island time catches up to December 3, 2004 off island and puts on the brakes, Desmond is thrown into his future, which is where he sees Charlie dying. (Actually he may be thrown into the future multiple times, because he sees Charlie die different ways. But he is not thrown into his past again because the back end of the subway car has now caught up with the present)

Would anything that we are shown on the show indicate that something like this went on. Well, it would mean that the day Desmond turned the key was out of whack somehow--too long, or too short. I don't have these DVDs to watch again. But I think that I remember that what is portrayed as happening after the hatch blew up was somehow off. Also if MagneticLocke ever gets over here to Theories and posts his theory about the S4E2 flashbacks of Miles, Dan and Frank, it might give some support for this idea.
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Old 02-10-08, 03:59 PM   #2
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Re: What Happened to Desmond--and the Island--When He Turned the Failsafe Key

Juliet throws a wrench into this. Around the time of the plane crash, Juliet talks about having been on the island for three years - three years that she experienced on the island. She's with Ben at the Flame station watching footage of the news reports about the plane crash, and she doesn't balk at the date. Three years of time slipping every 108 minutes would've made a real dent in the time sync.

I do, however, believe something could've happened to the flow of time on the island AFTER the plane crash, when Desmond failed to push the button on time that first time. And after the failsafe key? Who knows?
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Old 02-10-08, 04:12 PM   #3
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Re: What Happened to Desmond--and the Island--When He Turned the Failsafe Key

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Originally Posted by twilightsun View Post
Juliet throws a wrench into this. Around the time of the plane crash, Juliet talks about having been on the island for three years - three years that she experienced on the island. She's with Ben at the Flame station watching footage of the news reports about the plane crash, and she doesn't balk at the date. Three years of time slipping every 108 minutes would've made a real dent in the time sync.

I do, however, believe something could've happened to the flow of time on the island AFTER the plane crash, when Desmond failed to push the button on time that first time. And after the failsafe key? Who knows?
Well, I guess you are right. This theory would necessitate time travel. But it is not Desmond who is doing the time travel. He is just doing time ricochet. But to get on and off the island would necessitate time travel. Anybody coming to the island, like Juliet and Richard, would be traveling into the past. And if people can travel from the future into the past (the present of the island), why couldn't information from the future, e.g TV news footage?

Hmm, the Others complained that there communications went down after the Hatch implosion. Why would that be? Anyway this theory would explain why the two guys in the snow got the signal once the hatch blew up. It was now an event occurring in their time.
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Old 02-10-08, 04:16 PM   #4
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Re: What Happened to Desmond--and the Island--When He Turned the Failsafe Key

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Desmond is thrown into his future, which is where he sees Charlie dying. (Actually he may be thrown into the future multiple times, because he sees Charlie die different ways.
First, he wasn't thrown into the future multiple times because he sees Charlie die different ways. The possibility of Charlie dying a different way cannot happen until Desmond saves him from dying the first way he saw him die. By preventing that death, Desmond opened up another possibility. It is only then that Desmond can see the alternate possibility as it didn't exist until Desmond saved Charlie.
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Old 02-10-08, 04:21 PM   #5
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Re: What Happened to Desmond--and the Island--When He Turned the Failsafe Key

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Hmm, the Others complained that there communications went down after the Hatch implosion. Why would that be? Anyway this theory would explain why the two guys in the snow got the signal once the hatch blew up. It was now an event occurring in their time.
No, that can't be right. If turning the key, allowed them to see the electromagnetic signature that resulted when the hatch blew up then what caused the signature the first time they missed it? The key was only turned once.
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Old 02-10-08, 04:30 PM   #6
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Re: What Happened to Desmond--and the Island--When He Turned the Failsafe Key

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Originally Posted by twilightsun View Post
Juliet throws a wrench into this. Around the time of the plane crash, Juliet talks about having been on the island for three years - three years that she experienced on the island. She's with Ben at the Flame station watching footage of the news reports about the plane crash, and she doesn't balk at the date. Three years of time slipping every 108 minutes would've made a real dent in the time sync.
I don't remember the sequence or the content of the conversations off-hand, but I think it's possible that Juliet acquired the date FROM that video, and that's how she knew she had been on the island 3 years.

What I DO think throws a wrench into the works is the printout from the Pearl that matches the date Desmond didn't push the button with the off-island date of the flight.
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Old 02-10-08, 06:17 PM   #7
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Re: What Happened to Desmond--and the Island--When He Turned the Failsafe Key

Time, great explanation of this theory using the subway cars and the baseball, I actually grasped the concept right away.

Could this be explained as a simple matter of just Desmond existing/living in another timeline and the rest of the folks living in "real time" despite their physical presence on the island (which may or may not be "time shifted")? That might help explain some of the anomalies mentioned above?

I'm not very good at explaining this but if you've read the graphic novel "Watchmen" I'm thinking Desmond = Doc Manhattan, a man who was caught up in a science experiment gone horribly awry and who now exists in all times at once, but primarily lives/moves around in everyone else's "real time" (or at least it's shown from that perspective).

Also, are you a frequenter of the Spoliers section of this board? If so, I believe there may be a hint there that could help out this theory one way or another. Let me know if you'd like me to spolier tag it here or PM it to you if you're interested.

Great to back doing the time theorizing! Where's LongSufferer we need to get him/her back in on this too!
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Old 02-10-08, 06:24 PM   #8
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Re: What Happened to Desmond--and the Island--When He Turned the Failsafe Key

Juliet offers another intriguing anomaly that we might want to look more closely at in relation to Desmond. I believe we calculated at one point that her account of her time on the island places her arriving in early September 2001 (about a week before 9/11). However, a calculation for Desmond works out to almost the same date.

Consider Ben's surprise at the presence of a sailboat on the island.

Is it possible that Juliet's arrival via sub required the opening of a sort of window that cannot normally be passed through, and Desmond unwittingly came through at the same time. I'm not thinking of a literal window, by the way. Something to do with the island's odd time-space properties.

Faraday's comments about the scattering of the light can't have been meaningless.
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Old 02-10-08, 06:30 PM   #9
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Re: What Happened to Desmond--and the Island--When He Turned the Failsafe Key

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Originally Posted by Fourtoes View Post
Juliet offers another intriguing anomaly that we might want to look more closely at in relation to Desmond. I believe we calculated at one point that her account of her time on the island places her arriving in early September 2001 (about a week before 9/11). However, a calculation for Desmond works out to almost the same date.

Consider Ben's surprise at the presence of a sailboat on the island.

Is it possible that Juliet's arrival via sub required the opening of a sort of window that cannot normally be passed through, and Desmond unwittingly came through at the same time. I'm not thinking of a literal window, by the way. Something to do with the island's odd time-space properties.

Faraday's comments about the scattering of the light can't have been meaningless.
Fourtoes, this is a good point in light of what we've seen in recent episodes. The helicopters (Naomi's initial foray and now Frank and company's) have all experienced magnetic turbulence when entering island "space" but somehow Desmond's sailboat stayed together and wasn't severely damaged.

I guess he could've just randomly picked the correct heading (the one Ben gave Michael for his rescue) or more relevent to the topic of this thread, a time shift (necessary to get the sub through?) could've "slipped him in the front door" so to speak.
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Old 02-10-08, 07:16 PM   #10
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Re: What Happened to Desmond--and the Island--When He Turned the Failsafe Key

Wow, theory-making is hard, especially with such smart people on this board. So now I will try to reply to a few of the challenges presented. First, clayseason 1:


Quote:
Originally Posted by clayseason1 View Post
First, he wasn't thrown into the future multiple times because he sees Charlie die different ways. The possibility of Charlie dying a different way cannot happen until Desmond saves him from dying the first way he saw him die. By preventing that death, Desmond opened up another possibility. It is only then that Desmond can see the alternate possibility as it didn't exist until Desmond saved Charlie.
Yes, this is the biggest conundrum presented by Desmond's story line. Even more confounding than the fact that he goes into the past and perhaps changes the past is the fact that he can then see the future, multiple futures, really, and change the future. We've talked about it elsewhere on the board. The only way you can see the future is if the future is already there in some way. It entails a theory of tenseless time. But if the future is already there to be seen, it must be fixed and can't be changed. But Desmond uses his knowledge of the future to change it, to keep Charlie alive.

Okay how does my theory account for Desmond's flashes of the future, different futures? So here is one attempt: even though Desmond has returned to the present, the present on the island, part of him, his brain maybe, is still like that baseball on the floor of the subway rolling back and forth. Desmond sees Charlie die from a lightning strike, then he changes it so he does not die. Then Desmond sees the future that is created by that intervention, which includes Charlie drowning (right?), and he changes that, and so on until he sees Charlie dying in the Looking Glass Station. Both he and Charlie accept that Charlie must die then to save the others. (Desmond is operating sort of like Mrs. Hawking here.)

So CS1 is right, Desmond's knowledge of the future could not have been gained all at once by turning the failsafe key. Rather turning the failsafe key must made him suffer some sort of temporal whiplash, which is an ongoing condition that allows Desmond to see the different futures created at different junctures on an ongoing basis

Quote:
Originally Posted by clayseason1 View Post
No, that can't be right. If turning the key, allowed them to see the electromagnetic signature that resulted when the hatch blew up then what caused the signature the first time they missed it? The key was only turned once.
I am sorry, I don't understand what you are getting at. The way I see it, turning the key caused the electromagnetic signature, and at the same time brought the island into sync with off-island time. These events were simultaneous. If the second part had not happened, then the guys in the snow couldn't record the event, because it would have occurred in the past relative to them.
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