Monday, June 1, 2009

VALIS - The movie within the book.

When John Locke first handed Benjamin a book form his own library, while holding him in captivity (Eggtown), everyone started looking for a synopsis, or even a copy, of the famed Philip K. Dick's VALIS. There were quite some significant comparison points to our beloved LOST, and some bloggers and writers described them quite aptly. One such writer, Nikki Stafford, not only pointed out the book and brief outline of it on her blog entry for the episode on the night of the airing, but wrote an extended analysis of the book and its similarities to lost in her own Finding Lost - Season Four: The Unofficial Guide. Despite all that is good coming from Nikki, she could obviously not see what was going to come next in the universe of LOST, neither could she project that some major upcoming similarities to LOST would be from the movie that appears in the book, a movie aptly titled VALIS!

In Chapter 9, Horselover Fat, Phil and Kevin go see a sci-fi (or is it syfy) movie called VALIS in which some remarkably unexplainable and weird stuff happens. I will not detail the movie (or the book) here, so you can get your own copy from a bookstore and library. On their way back, the group discusses the subtleties of the movie and the comparisons to Fat's real life events.

One of the main aspects of the book (and movie) is the pink beam of light Fat says transports information. In Fat's life, the beam of pink light can only be seen by Fat himself and it inputs knowledge and information into Fat's head. In the movie, the light represents a beam from the VALIS satelite and enables it to controls individuals. The only similarity to LOST is strictly that we've seen the purple/pink haze in several events. Unlike the VALIS light, the haze has been present in events related to time travel/transposition:

1- When Desmond turns the failsafe key (Live Together, Die Alone), the sky turns purple and an electromagnetic anomaly is detected at Penny Widmore's listening station. One theory is that the island was made visible to outside observers. As a result of his proximity, Desmond relived part of his past and started having visions of the future (Flashes Before Your Eyes). IT is also considered the reason why Desmond was unstuck in time for 1996 to 2004 (The Constant).
2- The second occurrence of the haze was when Ben turned the wheel below the Orchid station to move the island (There's No Place Like Home, Parts 2 & 3). As a result, Ben was transported ten months into the future (The Shape of Things to Come) and the group of survivors who remained on the island started skipping in time (Because You Left).
2.5- While the survivors were skipping through time, every jump was announced with a loud noise and the haze (from Because You Left to This Place Is Death).
The last 'official' on-screen haze was when Locke replaced the wheel on its axis. As with Ben, Locke was transported into the future, only three years ahead (The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham). On the island, the survivors were stranded in the 1974 DHARMA period (LaFleur).
4- Prior to Locke's episode, we saw the last chronological haze when Ajira Airways entered the island's field (316). The effects were that four passengers from the flight were transported into 1977.
(5?)- One theorized occurrence of the haze was when the incident occured (The Incident, Parts 1 & 2). The suggested theory presents the idea that Juliet managed to detonate the bomb (many suggested the audible explosion sound as confirmation of detonation) and, whether or not this was or prevented the incident, sent the survivors back to their original time. The flash to white, while a potential sign of a detonation, could be seen as the lead in to the haze.

This leads into another general aspect of VALIS and LOST, aside their all-caps title. That of time. We've seen numerous times on the show discrepancies in time or, in a more extreme case, time travel. There was the small time discrepancy in Daniel's experiment (The Economist), Desmond's shifts in time (Flashes Before Your Eyes, The Constant) and of course the entire season 5 events of time traveling. The main debate in the current season is whether or not the past can be altered, and this will only be answered next season. Other plot points have been with regards to the existence or progression of time.

In VALIS, time is also a main constant. As part of the story, Fat experiences time as being somewhat static. To Fat, it appears time was stopped in Roman times and never realy progressed. He sees superimpositions of Rome with his current California. A perspective presented in the book is that time does not quite exist. In the movie, the presentation of time is only minor. A particular sequence describes the reconstruction of time quite aptly:
"[...] Eric Lampton ran backwards in time: the electronic components of his head imploded, the skull returned intact [...]"
All the while, events occur in real time and one character's exploded head plays on rewind to be reconstituted.

Probably the main time characteristic of the book is how Fat's consciousness get superimposed with Thomas, his past self from Rome, and what he considers a god-like figure, or his future self. These selves are reincarnation of individuals. That Fat is in contact with both past and future selves is a testament to the structure of time. How this transposes into the movie is described as characters dissolving and metamorphosing into other characters. The two characters involved being a man named Brady and the President, Ferris F. Fremount. Brady progressively becomes Fremount and, by the end of the movie, President Fremount has become Brady. This is the analogy of Locke's return to the island. Locke's body has been taken over for purposes in opposition to Jacob and possibly the island, while Locke was trying to act in the best interests of the island itself and, by extension, Jacob (or so he believes).

But what caught my attention were some specific years identified in relaition to the movie and Fat's connection with 'God'. The first time Fat gets information sent to him is in 1974. This was a significant time in Fat's life. The movie deals with the same type of powerful being/entity with some of the same properties that Fat had described. After seeing the movie, Fat asks when the it was made and the answer is a surprising 1977. Is this a coincidence that those two specific years are significant in the lore of season 5? Well, it certainly could be. I'm only identifying interesting comparisons and similarities here. The movie enventually sets Fat on his quest to find the filmmaker and ultimately leads him to find his daughter, the Savior.

On the show, 1974 was when some of the survivors were cast in the past and left to build a life for themselves. When 1977 rolled around, they were joined by a group of their friends. While the reason these four were thrown back in time has been posited as the circumstances of Oceanic 815 not beeing recreated exactly, the year they were thrown back was certainly not random. They went back in 1977 because they were to reunite with their friends and end their quest to change history and return to their current time. What will ultimately happen is that they will come face to face with... well we don't know, but potentially a Savior, or Destructor.

But perhaps the most striking comparison to LOST, and possibly a nod to the viewers, is how subtleties of the movie can be caught on second and third viewing. We, as fans of the show, watch and rewatch episodes constantly and catch minor details from books on Ben's shelf to painting in Widmore's office to characters appearing in the background and other, inumerable, little things. This is what we do here and it is generally the purpose of these blogs, to indentify details and aspects of the show and bring them to the forefront of mass discussions.

The same is happening in VALIS when Fat, Phil and Kevin come back from the movie. They keep discussing it and, since Kevin had already seen it, brings some details of it into light for Fat and Phil. They keep discussing the meaning of characters, the VALIS satelite and even of a small pot (one that Fat's friend had made and given him in the past) which keep reappearing on many occasions throughout the movie. The three of them can only seem to keep discussing the movie and the hidden gems within it and what it all means, just as LOST fans all over the web are doing.

This last one is by far the biggest comparison between the two (three ?) works. There are many more comparisons between LOST and VALIS the book, as discussed in Nikki's season 4 guide. And now that the whole savior theme has arisen in the show, there are likely to be more. But this entry is not for this purpose. I encourage you to read the book for yourself and discover the many comparisons.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Moebius History Revisited

OR Two perspectives on two meetings!

So... after a long time of breaking my skull and looking through my brain to answer some questions and repair some points to the controversial theory I brought up (and it's only that, a theory), I've finally been able to achieve a revisitation of it and tie up some loose ends I thought were the more memorable criticism! In no way is this what I strictly believe in, it is possibly a far fetched theory, but is one interesting to see completed.

The truth is, I've been busy beyond just this theory, hence the length required to elaborate on it. I've not touched it at all over the weekend and only yesterday was I able to write something coherent that could be transposed into blog form. As this entry is strictly a reply to comments, it is not visual as the previous post was, but you can easily reference it if need be!

What seemed to struck most was how the time skips on the island fitted in this theory. And it was my intention to leave them out as I had no explanation for it! I don't believe there is any particular way to explain these bleeps on the radar but I've come up with something to try to fill in the gaps. Some say that the jumps could be very well happen in between (A) and (B) timelines. This would suggest that the (B) timeline has always existed and we're back to the idea that whatever happened, happened. And this would be one aspect of it indeed. It's just that, up until season 5 started, we only knew what had happened in timeline (A). To the viewers, Jack, Sawyer and whoever was with them could certainly 'change' the past (or is it the future) as they were part of a cmpletely new timeline (to the viewer). The idea that this is a parallel universe or alternate reality is not apt, as my presentation does not account for different pasts prior to 1974 or different futures beyon 2007. There is only an alternate [1974-2007].

Another possibility, the one that made me furious on several occasions, is that the jumps happen in both timelines. WHAAAAA???? That's what I said right after I thought it. Actually after I woke up from passing out.

[My brief on Event Probability may be a good primer]

This is definitely not obvious to visualize, and I'm afraid I don't have yet a diagram to display the thought. I certainly don't mean that there are two different realities. Jumps in the past happened in the past. But jumps in the future were anchors between the two timelines. Here's the mechanics of the creation and closing of the loop:

[1]-When Ben turned the wheel, it dislodged (everyone from time) the timeline from its path. That is, instead of having a distinct line of history, it created a band of probable futures (including A and B).
[2]-When Locke turned the wheel, it settled the travelers into the B timelime, but displaced in time, therfore synching 1974 (B) with 2004 (A) - and therefore 1977 (B) with 2007 (A).
[3]-What's left to do, is disolve the band and reconstitute the single historical path, something that could be done by, say, detonating an H-bomb near a strong source of electromagnetism.

Where does that leave time skipping Locke? Every jump that he experiences happens, to our perception, in the A timeline. That is, the events we see happening are taking part as if the 'past' had not changed. So when he meets Richard, he is given a compass that he's asked to give back the next time they meet (in 1954). The origin of the compass itself is actually unkonwn so far. When Ajira breaks through the barrier and ends up in the B timeline, Not-Locke gets the (rusted) compass back from Richard and then leads the way to meet Locke again. This happens, to our perception, in the B timeline. The meeting still happens as it should (through event probability) but under different leading circumstances, unknown in the case of the A-meeting.

The document on event probability states that time can be altered only in a way that allows it to be altered. This is irrelevant in the case of the Moebius loop as they are disjoint times. But when I talk about the occurrences of time skips, these are anchors that exist both in timeline A
(which already happened) and in timeline B (which hasn't happened). If a given event needs to exist (with probability 1) in a timeline that hasn't happened, then history must unfold in a way that will make the event occur. For simplification, one could visualise the Moebius band as the range of possible histories that will contain this event.

Without going into details, it's not too hard to imagine Desmond's memory issue being explain by such, with the help of Desmond's specialness. One last loose end to tie would be the remaining event we haven't seen, that of the outrigger shootout. Consider the following: when Ajira crashed, it did so during daytime on the Hydra island, the time travelers appeared on the island in 1977 during daytime (morning). But the season ends in 2007 at nighttime (Jacob's death) and in 1977 in daytime (H-bomb). I posit that in relation to time elapsed on the show since the crash, 2007 is half a day behind. The next morning, they'll go back to the camp in outriggers and eventually chase a band of thiefs and shoot at them. Shortly after, it will be the time of the day when the bomb went off:

I know there are still kinks to be worked out but, given that this is not a grand theory that I hold dear, I don't see it necessary to update it further. Despite its interesting points, this is not theory that is likely to be prominent on the show. Hence, I don't see the point of turning it to a new "Time Loop Theory". I hope you've enjoyed it and were able to look past the few holes. With some luck, I was successful in stimulating your brain and that's all I was looking for!

NEXT: Jacob's touch.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Moebius History

Ever since the screen flashed to white, there have been countless discussions at to what exactly happened, or what is really happening on the show! Most notable of them all is "has the H-bomb really gone off?" and for those who believe it has, then "what has happened to everyone who was stuck in 1977?"

From the last podcast, dated May 18th, 2009. Michael Emerson was interviewed and mentioned that, as he read the script, it clearly stated that the H-bomb had gone off. Now this may be a deception to the actors themselves. But if it's true I do not necessarily consider it a spoiler as there clearly was an explosion sound and, if it's in the script, that's cle arly what the writers want us to believe. So assuming the bomb did go off, WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

There are many theories floating around. One is that the bomb was the incident and now Juliet is dead and everyone is stuck in 1977 until some time traveling event occurs again. Another is that Juliet is dead and the bomb was the incident but it created the time traveling event and everyone is back in 2007. There are many variations: time has been altered and everyone (or a group of people) start back in 2004, before/after the plane crash. They have different/same memories... blah, blah, bleh! In short, we have probably been left with more questions about the end of the show than actual answers as t what is happening!

This is where I come in. I try to suggest a theory as to what is happening. This is by no means what I think will definitely happen and will not cover everything that is the Grand Unified Theory of Lost. The key component in all of this is the mighty and powerful, compass. It's been posited that the compass could be in a self-consistent loop, where it has no creator and no death. But the issue I always had with this is the actual decay of the object itself. If the compass was in a perpetual, self-consistent loop, then the decay it presents (by Richard's own admission) would be an inconsistency and would probably result in the universe collapsing once the object reached inexistence.

But lo and behold, the writers have planned for the compass and what exactly it represents. Although one cannot consider the podcasts to be certified canon, they provide certain clues, one of which was that the writers mentioned the compass was in a Moebius Loop (google for references.)

Now this theory may not quite accurately describe how a Moebius loop may be in time, but it certainly is inspired and takes from its characteristics, most notably that it is a non-orientable surface. So before keep on reading, you may want to brush up on the subject.

Back? Then I assume you are ready for the following mind bender! Note that the following may not exactly take care of what Moebius Loop the compass is in! Funny how the inspiration did not get included. I'll speculate on it later on.

So you are probably aware that a Moebius strip is a surface with only one side and one boundary component. What this means is that, by following its edge from a given starting point (colour/year), one would eventually return to the same general surface (colour) but on the other edge, as can be seen from the red edge:

To understand how this may apply in a time-travel/history context, consider how one can build a Moebius loop. You take a long strip of paper, give one of its ends a half twist and then tie them together:From a temporal problem, let's assume the strip is a temporal strip of time looped unto itself. To ease the visual representation, let's say the strip goes from 1977 to 2007. One would see that a simple strip folded unto itself would create s single looped edge/surface. But in a Moebius loop concept, the repercussions can be quite intriguing. Consider the following as reference:
As stated, in a standard loop strip, history would form an AB band from 1977 to 2007. But in a Moebius loop, we go from an AB band to a BA band. The idea is that by starting at the point 1977-A and letting time flow, one would reach 2007-A, which converges to 1977-B and flows to 2007-B, and seemingly converges to 1977-A again. What this means is that, in a full loop that starts and ends in one single, indentical point (1977-A), one has to go through twice the length of the loop: 30 years (A) + 30 years (B) = 60 years. History repeats itself.

Or maybe it actually doesn't! And that is where the actual theory kicks in. Obviously, I have not selected the previous years arbitrarily. But instead of having a single year connection (1977/2007), it is possible to consider that the convergenceoccurs over a 3-year period (1974-1977 / 2004-2007). In a sense, the two periods allow for traveling to the other side. Although what we've seen on the show was a unidirectional movement, there are no reasons why this movement couldn't be bi-directional. Implying that individuals from the 1974-1977 period could travel to the 2004-2007 period.

This representation indicates that there are two different occurrences of the period 1974-2007. One would represent the events as we've heard about them in seasons 2 through 4. The other would be the one affected by the events we've observed in the current season. Where does that put everyone? well consider the first loop (the red edge discussed earlier) to be what we've all seen before. Comes 2004 when Ben and Locke turn the wheel and LaFleur's crew gets stuck in 1974. This would be the first occurrence of 2004 and the second of 1974. The same is true during the Ajira flight. In the first version of 2007, Jack's group flashes to the second version of 1977. This is why Jack could actually change the history as we have come to know it, he is in fact affecting the second historical loop.

So, if we are to believe Mr. Emerson's claim that the H-bomb indeed go off near a super charge of electromagnetism, then one could easily believe that this closed the temporal band (74-77/04-07) and will return Jack's group back to the second occurence of 2007, meeting Sun, Frank, Ilana and Ben. THAT'S RIGHT, everyone who was on the Ajira flight and did not travel back in time landed not in the first occurrence of 2007 but in the second, which has already been affected by Jack and Sawyer.

Remember that on a Moebius strip, every single point at the loop is exactly in synch. In the construction shown earlier 1977-A was converging from 2007-B and both were joined by the band to the 1977-B/2007-A point. This shows that in the proper conditions, someone within the 2004-2007 period could either: 1) remain in that first occurrence; 2) travel to the second occurrence of the past period; or 3) travel to the second occurence of their current period. There are different implications for each of the possibilities: A) one would incur a change in memories and either remember or forget all of the past once the end point of the convergence ban arrives; B) affect the second historical loop; or C) have all memories intact but live in an alternate historical reality. Memories of the first historical loop but living with events of the second loop.

What happens to those who do not change points on the band? Well, we have an example of such an individual in Richard. Since he is special to the island, this may not be the best representation but bear with me. When we first meet Richard in season 3, one would assume he has no recollection of the lostaways dying in the past because that is the first occurrence. When Sun meets him in 2007 (post Ajira), he remembers his friends dying, because he has the memories of the second history loop. Since he hasn't traveled in time, when he hit the convergence (which likely only exists on the island), he gained the memories of tat second loop. Whether or not he remembers the earlier events, one would believe so since he remembers Locke disappeared when Ben turned the wheel, but it is hard to know exactly how memories are affected in the convergence band, I'd like to speculate but I haven't seen enough to do so.

What does that make anyone think of? If you said simple case of changing history, then you're wroight (is that a word? If not I'm submitting it to Merriam-Webster). So far, this theory has only a loop that goes twice form 1974 to 2007 and starts over again! Well there needs to be entry and exit points, and these are just the past before 1974, or an edge leading to 1974-A and a future post 1977, or and edge leading from 2007-B. With that in mind, you can just consider that time flows as is and someone travels back and changes the past and then returns to his original time. This almost makes this entire theory just a method of suggesting time travel allows for changing time. But the difference is that it allows for the seemingly creation of paradoxes.

The main paradox being that the incident happens, the hatch is built, the plane crashes, Jack experiences difficult times, goes back to the island/in time, detonates the bomb that prevents everything, including the possibility of Jack going back in time to prevent the paradox. But since the concept of Moebius loop/strip was put into place, this allows for the creation of contradicting events.

Another possibility of the loop is that time travel was always a component, but on one side (A) Jack could not affect the past while on the other (B) Jack was able to. If you look at some of the characteristics of a non-orientable surface, you get that an object being slid across the surface can come back to its starting point as a mirror image of itself. This is what this version is, one version where the bomb does not go off and another version where it does.

I realize I have not touched on the compass, and I claimed I would not do so. But let me just mention a few things. The compass could be part of a greater loop than what I've elaborated, or it could be that the creation of the loop (by turning the wheel) affected several points in time in that it created some smaller Moebius loops between periods, such as 1954 and 2004. This would present the possibility that two John Locke talked to the various Richards we've seen. But given the revelations from the finale, this possibility may require a whole other post on the what our new found nemesis has had to go through to find his loophole.

In the meantime, consider what I've said and, hopefully, this will lead to several more theories!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Who Is Who? What is What?

The Bomb
I've said it on Nikki's main post but I think it's worth repeating. When Juliet hits the bomb on the eight try, just as the screen fades to white there is a distinct explosion sound. A sound unlike any of the closing sounds previously used on Lost. In the season 6 preview, the image behind the lettering is that of an explosion cloud. If the bomb did go off, as I believe, then a nuclear explosion would surely have caused a significant destruction and averted the incident.
[more to come in another post]

Moebius Loop
The producers have suggested that the compass is in a Moebius loop. This could also be applied to the entire show's storyline. What it implies is that, this is the second time around that the 815ers are in 1977, only now it's from their own perspective (a 2007 perspective if you will) as opposed to DHARMA's 1977 perspective. A Moebius strip has the property that after one length of the band, an image will return to its original position as a mirror of itself. It takes two full lengths to return as it original (this is not the best explanation, if anyone wants clarity, you can google it). So are we seeing this kind of representation in the show? Perhaps, This would certainly mean that at some point on that loop, things can happen differently than how it originally happened.
[more to come as well]

Now what about Jacob? The cabin remains a mystery, and it probably got deeper. When Ilana arrives, she finds the piece of cloth knifed to the wall. The important detail in that particular scene is the knife used. It is the same knife that Jacob used to cut his fish in the opening scene. So why did Jacob put that particular piece of cloth there? Was it as a note that he had moved back to the statue? Was it that, since the cabin had been deserted, Ilana should meet him a the statue? Ilana was recruited by Jacob, so when she says they're going to show somebody what's in the box so they know who they're up against... what exactly does it mean?
1) They need to show Jacob the body so he knows he's up against not-Locke?
2) They need to show Maybesau the body so he knows their group was able to kill his plan?
There is definitely not enough information to really find a definitive answer of who was in the cabin. It could have been Maybesau trapped by Jacob. It could have been the other war around as well! All along we were always told it was Jacob, but in fact it's who Ben and Locke believed to Jacob, whether or not it was him.

But Ilana's role in all of this may not be as clear as we're led to believe... or maybe it is? On the Hydra island, after Ben awakens from his oar-slam, he asks Bram and Ilana what's in the box and if they need help. Their exchange is intriguing, as if one (or both) of the parties know who the other is. This ties in with Bram's speech to Miles and how he should not work for Widmore. So could they be working for Ben? And since they are in possession of Locke's body when not-Locke is present, they are definitely aware of what is happening and so, why are they not doing anything about it? Are they working for Maybesau or Jacob? What was their plan exactly? One would think that they were not aware they'd find Locke's body in the plane. So what was their original purpose? I believe Ilana helped Jacob by bringing Sayid on Ajira 316, and that she had a greater purpose than simply that, hence the presence of Bram and the others.

As for non-Locke, how does body snatching actually work? It appears that the body itself remains intact. Locke's body was still in on the island and even more so, was in the box not-Locke was standing next to on the beach prior to leaving the Hydra island! What is intriguing is that Christian's body was never actually found. On top of that, Christian appeared to Jack off the island in between 2004 and 2007! It could very well be that when Christian tells Vincent his son has work to do, it's all leading up to eventually killing Jacob, the same reason Christian leads Locke.

This brings back the conversation Locke had with Christian in the cave. He asked him why Richard told him he was going to die, to which Christian replies "I suppose that's why they call it sacrifice." Christian certainly does not deny that Locke will need to die. When John is in the hospital bed talking to Widmore, Charles realizes John came back to "bring them back, the ones who left", and seems to understand what is happening, or at least has an idea, his posture and perception of John certainly changes. The last comment he makes by Locke's bed is that, if he's not back on the island when the war arrives, the wrong side is going to win. But does he mean on the island as himself or as a vessel for someone else? The next day, when John tells him what Richard told him, Charles replies he doesn't know why he said that, but he was going to do everything to prevent it. It is in fact Ben who kills John, and later John will convince Ben to kill Jacob.

So, who exactly is on whose side? Whose cabin is it? Are Ben and Charles two sides fighting for Jacob? Why would Eloise be helping Ben while still in touch with Charles? As a matter of fact, she's the one who insisted Jack brings Locke on the plane with something of his father's. Did she know what was going to happen?

There are so many topics to discuss, this 8 months period may not be as long as we all think!