I was struck by an interesting thought about LOST – I don’t think it is what the writers have in store for us, but I thought I would share it nevertheless.
As Desmond works to bring together individuals and direct their paths to intersect, working things together towards a goal which has yet to be fully revealed, he is resembling Jacob more and more. What if Jacob, in turn, is someone who remembers an earlier universe which, through some attempt to change history in that universe, gave rise to the universe in which our story started? What if universe gives birth to universe in this way, and individuals who are capable of surviving exposure to electromagnetic radiation manage to remember the prior universe, and end up seeking to find a way of working events and manipulating people towards recalling and restoring things to the way “they should have been” – only to have it result in yet another universe, another timeline in which the process begins again? Perhaps that is the case not only with Desmond, but also Eloise Hawking, and Jacob and the man in black as well.
Perhaps that is the fundamental disagreement between Jacob and the man in black. Jacob was worked things towards there being yet another timeline, making still more “progress,” while the man in black is ready to “leave,” to have the process end. “It only ends once,” Jacob said. “Anything that happens before that is just…progress.”
Or perhaps eventually one of the two universes has to vanish, and so the process involves only two universes at a time, and the issue is which universe to keep – the one you began with, or the new one that has been produced. Which will represent progress? What kind of universe do you need to have before you consider it to be the one worth keeping. Or perhaps that is what Jacob is trying to prove to the man in black – that this universe is worth keeping.
Anyway, I don’t think that this is the scenario that LOST is exploring – although I’m less sure of that than when I began exploring this train of thought. But either way, LOST gives us opportunities to ponder and discuss many philosophical and religious questions beyond those explicitly in the minds of the writers and producers.