LOST in a Parallel Universe

I have a theory about LOST, one that I think will make sense of the focus on mirror opposites, of opposing forces of light and dark, good and evil. I think it also makes sense of the video clip with the rabbit at the Dharma station known as “The Orchid”. If my theory is correct, then LOST is certainly one of the most philosophically interesting shows around, and perhaps ever.

One view of the universe that some physicists find persuasive is that there are an infinite number of “universes”, and we happen to inhabit a universe in which life is possible (or perhaps even inevitable). The island on LOST may be a place where two universes have come into contact. It is possible to bring the “parallel” universe’s rabbit, for instance, into our own. These universes are similar, but not identical. Perhaps there is contact between more than one universe at this point. In the universe from which Naomi came, maybe the people on the Oceanic flight really didn’t survive. Maybe in that universe (as in the original plan in our universe) Jack didn’t survive, and so for that reason no one did.

This leads us to a question that physicists have not explored about the multiverse theory, and neither have moral philosophers to my knowledge. What is the moral status of our existence in a universe in which every possibility is realized somewhere? Presumably no matter how good or evil a person may be in a given universe, in a universe in which every configuration and every possibility is manifested, a precise moral opposite of that person will exist somewhere. This raises a profound question about the nature of good and evil. Is there anyone who could be good in every iteration of themselves? What would it take to achieve that? If the heroic Jack of the island is “rescued” and taken into a parallel universe in which the pressures and circumstances Jack faced there are very different, could he still be the same person in terms of his way of life and fundamental values? If so, or if not, what does this say about the intriguing moral questions raised by this particular cosmology?
The question that LOST poses about fate and coincidence doesn’t go away just because one believes the multiverse theory. Either we must ask whether the existence of one universe that has given rise to us is fate or coincidence, or we must ask whether it is fate or coincidence that we inhabit the universe we do.

At any rate, if my theory about the view of the world they are exploring in the show LOST is a correct view of the universe we actually inhabit, then I can at least take comfort in the fact that my theory is correct somewhere in the multiverse, even though it may not be in the one this iteration of my existence inhabits…

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  • Anonymous

    Awesome!I was thinking along these lines too.

  • Anonymous

    interesting. I like your theory… It sounds a lot like quantum physics or quantum mechanics. Is that what you had in mind when you came up with it?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    Yes, something like that. I hope to post more on the metaphysical questions (with some cross-reference to LOST) later today, if I have time…

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for your theory.I have been thinking along those lines for awhile.I found you through the general post board for lost.I see it as a battle for souls possibly along with the parallell universe theory.The blending of religious and scientific theories.What do you think?

  • Anonymous

    I agree! This is where LOST is. I am thinking it is a lot like the matrix and the island is not reality. All I am going to say is I think it is very interesting that everyone who has died on the island has “improved” themselves in some way.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    Presumably the same could be said about most or all of those who are still alive! :)There’s more on souls in the LOST universe in my most recent post, about tonight’s episode (if you’ve recorded it, you should watch it before reading the post).

  • Anonymous

    Have you ever read the book “Timeline” by Michael Crichton? It is all about the multiverse theory and quantum physics. I never thought about applying that idea to Lost though. you might have something there.

  • Bubbles

    actually, i don’t really think it’s a theory yet, but more a framework for a lost-theory involving “multiverse aspects”. there is one interesting notion in multiverse theories that states that time is an illusion, only perceived by beings inhabiting this 3-dimensional bubble we call our universe, while in “super-reality” every event already exists. remember the old lady who told desmond that, no matter how many times you save someone from certain death, the universe will find a way to compensate? she sounded kinda frustrated about the notion that all seems to be pure fate. i’m pretty sure that the original DHARMA research involved some kind of scouting out “ideal” worldlines in “superspace”, which of course seem to have failed in some way. here’s an interesting link i found to get in touch with the concept: http://www.robsworld.org/notime.html

  • Anonymous

    This does seem to be the premise and impetus behind their plots and schemes (it intrinsically keeps us glued to see the outcome) which then always leads to another twist! It's fascinating, truly! …..and in my opinion in regard to the portion of the question posted above…."What is the moral status of our existence in a universe in which every possibility is realized somewhere? Presumably no matter how good or evil a person may be in a given universe, in a universe in which every configuration and every possibility is manifested, a precise moral opposite of that person will exist somewhere."….I do believe that is where the Salvation of Christ comes into play…did he not say "Father forgive them they know NOT what they do"…Christ died for all of our sins, those we are aware of and those we are not. He died for the ones who were not even born yet, who would sin for years before coming into knowledge of him. We should all keep an open mind yes…but always look to the Lord and the Bible to work out the complexities that face us. He whom promised us IS FAITHFUL! I just wonder…in how many ways the Lord comes to us, to get our attention, including through these very words you are reading right now! God Bless you! smz