the ultimate “LOST” theory


I should say:

Apologies to those who have seen only the first season, as this theory also relates to the second, which is currently up to episode 12 (13 tonight). This theory has been revised (and expanded to include an FAQ section at the end) purely because it's been requested, the original post is over-long, and (as a consequence) a lot of questions/counterpoints have been repeated. In addition, this theory is based on the premise that there is nothing supernatural about the mysteries of Lost; nothng overly sci-fi; and it's not all a dream/coma.

I'll try to keep this brief:



…many of our heroes were born on the island; they were hot-housed, intended to carry on the work of the Dharma Initiative.

The purpose of the Dharma Initiative was world peace; its means were a number of defensive weapons to protect the island – their base – including the mechanical monster, sharks, the black fog and probably more stuff to come, and, most importantly, a weapon I'm lamely calling the Collective Consciousness (CC hereafter). 


The CC is a group of scientists with their noggins hooked up to wires… in the hatch… behind the concrete… With the technology hinted at in the Orientation film (and Hurley's comic), these scientists are able to remotely – via electromagnetism – control objects, such as cars, galleons, planes, lottery balls, and also induce vision in minds of a weakened state, such as those that are drunk, drugged, exhausted, or sick.
In effect, with the help of the Hanso satellite, the CC can reach across the globe and witness or influence events. In the wrong hands, it could be the ultimate weapon: there would be no nuclear compund too secure. In the right hands, it could change events for the good. Hanso decided to take the peaceful path. His notion was to take the world to the brink of a cataclysm, that would both unite previously warring states and, at the same time, reduce them to basic technologies, rendering weapons of mass or mediocre destruction impotent.

Let's look at Alvar Hanso – the founder of the Dharma Initiative – to bring in some 'evidence' so this theory has some basis other than me making it up… 

Meet Hans Ørsted:

Hans Ø. discovered electromagnetism in 1820.

In 1999 the Ørsted satellite was launched with the purpose of charting Earth's magnetic field. The findings led scientists to believe that there might be a polar reversal imminent, the effects of which could be cataclysmic: if Earth were to lose its magnetosphere [also alluded to in the comic], it would be vulnerable to massive radiation from the space/sun. The satellite also revealed an anomaly in the magnetic field under South Africa; it is pointing the opposite direction from the rest of the Earth's field and has been growing for hundreds of years. Please Google this info. A similar idea was also used in the film 'The Core'. 

Meet Hannes Alfvén: 

His contribution to science – mainly in the field of electromagnetism – revolutionised how scientists view the universe, winning a Nobel Prize on the way. He spoke English, German, French, Russian, and some Spanish and Chinese; and studied oriental philosophy and religion. He spent time in the Fiji Islands. He was fascinated by the "green flash" – a phenomenon that sometimes occurs at sunset. By no coincidence (Green Lantern and Flash comic or, in this case, translated literally from the Spanish: "Lantern Green Flash"):


He also wrote fiction: The Great Computer: A Vision (1968) telling the story of computers taking over the world. Google "Hannes Alfvén".

Alfvén plus Hans O. equals Alvar Hanso:

…so we have the founder of the Dharma Initiative and the means by which he would inflict peace on the world: polar reversal.

In the same vein as Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, the big bad guy (Hanso was an arms dealer/manufacturer) actually had good intentions. The CC disrupted the Earth's magnetic fields to such an extent it was like a massive global EMP bomb had gone off: all electrical equipment was burnt out, all computer data was lost, planes fell out of the sky, and the world was set back decades technologically AND united against a common, non-human, non-political, non-religious foe: nature (or what they thought was nature).

This was the moment the Lost plane was brought down from the sky.

From what we've been shown so far, it looks as though the plane lost its navigation, subsequently went miles off-course, plummeted, was ripped apart, and landed in bits on the island, the survivors woke up, checked they could walk (even if they couldn't before) and carried on. Before the theory tries to explain what it thinks happened, consider this: it is very unlikely that anybody would survive a crash of this kind – especially from that altitude, in that plane, where it hit. That so many survived and that so many survived from different pieces in different locations is impossible… if it were a regular plane crash… this impossibility is referenced several times by the survivors themselves. Also consider: after the crash, John Locke could walk; after the crash, Claire discovers that there are no hairbrushes/combs at all on the plane: at least these two events point to the likelihood that there was some kind of interferrence with the plane after it had 'crashed'… But add in the impossibility of anybody surviving at all and one must conclude that there was a guiding hand in the 'crash' and the survival of the passengers, further suggested by the fact that Goodwin and the bearded chap seemed to know these people – or at least their names – even before meeting them!

Consider: Kate's horse and Eko's plane are both on the island. The location of the island may or may not be Fiji, but we know the last place the horse was seen was in the USA… and the last place we saw the plane was Nigeria (and it couldn't have gotten very far). SOMETHING has brought them to the island – FedEx? Also: we have a big old boat called the Black Rock (which was the name given to Magnetite – the first magnetic material discovered) miles inland.

This theory says: the CC brought the plane down [with the help of the 'black fog' which is nothing more than charged metallic particles]. It simulated a plane about to crash, ensured everybody had passed out, brought the surviving unconscious passengers and plane parts down gently, kept them asleep for a period (maybe hours, maybe years), scattered debris, injured some, and then woke them in different places – in a tree, next to an engine, in the sea etc.. 

As they slept, the Others – those scientists and their offspring that still adhered to the Dharma plan – removed combs and hairbrushes from the plane/passengers. The tiny electrostatic intereference that brushing hair causes would make it difficult for the CC to tamper with their minds.

In the very first shot of Lost [Pilot, Part1] we see the CC/black fog: 

As Jack awoke, the black fog that had placed him there ascended into the canopy. He blinked and it was gone. Not a pupil dilated, but a reflection!


[Weeks later, Kate would disrupt the black fog's field with a stick of dynamite. As it tries to stabilise, two poles are clearly visible. The electric nature of the black fog is also evident in a season 2 when Eko confronts it – it can clearly be seen crackling with electricity.]

……….But this was not the first time on the island for many of them. They had been born to continue the Dharma work – to protect the island and the CC; for while the CC is powerful it is still reliant on human beings.

They had been born on the island as part of Dharma. A long time ago, one scientist had taken exception to the treatment of children as part of such a project and sabotaged it. He/she deliberately prevented entry of the code numbers into the hatch computer, and so the Hanso satellite – as its programmed function as a security failsafe – zapped the area of the hatch. Four people were killed in this 'incident' (as it was referred to in the Orientation film), including Hanso himself; two scientists lost arms – Dr. Marvin Candle and Ray Mullen (the farmer who handed Kate over to the police (and possibly her real father)). The dead were laid to rest on the island and were found as 'Adam and Eve' by our heroes. [Hanso's was the body that had the black and white stones, which have no more significance than as a ying yang metaphor – a guiding principle in him trying to make reparation for all the suffering he had caused by dealing and developing arms – especially during the Cold War; world peace instead of world war.]

[The numbers that are imputted are intrinsically meaningless; more telling are the facts that the numbers get larger and that they total 108. The numbers getting larger (without any obvious arithmetic progression) suggests units of time; 108 minutes was the time it took Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin to orbit the earth. The code is for a satellite; if it is not entered, the satellite will zap the hatch.]

Back to the 'incident': using the inferno as a distraction, the rebel scientist freed several of the children. Among them was a boy who he/she later named 'Ethan Rom' as this child was 'MORE THAN' just a test subject! These freed children make up the Renegade Others who have lived on the island since 1967/8; by now they are onto the second generation [in direct opposition to the scientist Others (beardy) who continue the Dharma work – the Renegades often burn material and create massive billowing clouds of black smoke to camouflage their movements from the CC]. The Dharma Initiative, severely weakened by the loss of Alvar Hanso, his funding, and other key scientists could not scour the island for the children, but concentrated on achieving the original Dharma vision of world peace, before their US Army patrons could swoop in and ruin everything.

[The hatch now has blast doors to protect the two-man team in case they miss a 108 minute deadline. However, in the event of the satellite firing, the sensitive, important information on the other side of the blast doors would be destroyed – including the scientists that make up the CC – better that than allow this technology to fall into the wrong hands.] 


Following the 'incident', Hanso's US Army patrons decided it should be dissolved. The Dharma scientists resisted – and do to this day – using the very weapons the US Army had funded, they fortified the island. The greatest weapon in the arsenal being the CC.

They managed to get the remainder of the children secretly and intermittently sent out into the world and given to foster parents as part of the Dharma project. They were all placed with trusted Dharma devotees as parents, and were conditioned over the course of their lives for their particular future purposes on the island.

After years of conditioning and guidance remotely by the CC (according to the principles of BF Skinner) in the outside world, our heroes were – one way or another – delivered onto the same flight out of Sydney.

As time passes on the island, it will become clearer what part each survivor should play, if any. To keep the project alive, the CC must endure. Therefore, they need replacements: as part of the CC itself, to push the buttons, to maintain the island's defences, and to keep the secrets secret. As well as embodying the Dharma vision of a new world order of peace and co-operation (by coercion), our heroes are [guided] on the island to continue the work. Specifically: Hurley's whole aim in life has always been to input the numbers; not only is he already obsessed with them, he has also been conditioned to survive in that indoor, claustrophobic environment, with nothing but TV meals and music to sustain him. Hurley seems to be unlucky when it comes to electrical equipment – fuses burn out etc – this was a deliberate strategy of the CC to discourage Hurley from meddling with electrical equipment – an essential attitude for long hours down in the hatch bored out of his mind. And now he seems to have found a hatch buddy in Libby… more reasons to stay in. 


Hurley had two electromagnets clamped to his head for most of season 1: his headphones are a metaphor for how much he is controlled by the CC.

Also, specifically: Walt has been conditioned to eventually become part of the CC – to replace one of the withered old scientists with electrodes attached to his head behind the concrete; this is why, throughout his life, the CC has made sure he was surrounded by electromagnetic phenomena – e.g. the bird that hit the window. He has a pseudo-affinity with magnetism, by which I mean: the CC has, to an extent, acted on Walt's will and wishes so that he gets used to that sort of power… he's being trained, but he doesn't know it.

Walt is becoming increasingly familiar with 'visualizing' and guiding metal objects – even though it is actually the CC doing this on his behalf.  


The intention is to train Walt to use his mind to guide objects as the CC does. At the moment, the CC is doing all the work, but one day, Walt will have the power. At the moment, he seems to have some kind of access to the CC technology as he is able to project his image across the island; that his voice is reversed may be because the CC is censoring him or because he is not yet familiar with the technology and is making a fundamental mistake.

No-one knows what will happen in the end. One guess is that our survivors will discover the island's purpose – and their purpose on it – and will decide to stay because they like it, have nothing good to return to now and want to continue the Dharma project of world peace in defending the CC.

Now: on the island, the CC continues to manipulate our heroes. Locke is the most obvious case: he is beholden to the CC because it gave him the ability to walk. The evidence for this is: Locke cannot FEEL his legs (in the epsiode with the plane/Boone tragedy) but he can walk. 


…notice the electro-convulsive equipment next to Locke's lame legs – to stimulate muscle even though he cannot walk. Also: their is a scene in which Locke is dragged along the ground by the black fog; this is made easier for an electromagnetic foe as Locke has metal pins in his legs!

Others are manipulated (according to BF Skinner's ideas) by playing on their weaknesses, addictions, or beliefs – the voices in the trees. It is even able to induce visions in those that are physically or mentally vulnerable. This it has been doing to a degree all their lives. 


…notice the resemblance to the Dharma logo.


Even their guardians were privy to their fate.

Kate's foster father, as an example, was on the island as a US Army liaison officer, (after Korea) to ensure they were getting their money's worth from Hanso's weapons research; he was converted by the Dharma ideal and took a daughter away with him; and, as part of his new peace-loving outlook, he decided he did not have 'murder in his heart' and took a desk-job in an Army recruitment office. Many of the survivors have father issues beyond what would normally be expected of a random cross-section of people on a plane. This is attributable to how their guardians treated/conditioned/trained them for their future purposes. In Jack's case, his foster father tried to be stern with him as a child, in an attempt to keep him at a distance emotionally; however, the cold surgeon grew to love his particular child subject and the dilemma of having to eventually give him away to such a bleak purpose tore him apart slowly; he turned to drink; (in the Australian bar, he recognized Jack as possibly being a 'great man' thus acknowledging a purpose beyond surgery); in the end, he was summoned to Australia and was killed so as to lure Jack there. Jack's father wanted to pick up the phone and tell him that he loved him, but he could not because he was 'weak'; in fact, Jack's father understood there would be consequences from the Dharma Initiative if he did this; indeed, this wavering precipitated his death – he was becoming a liability.

This cycle is repeated throughout Lost. A foster parent comes to love their charge and ultimately betrays the Dharma Initiative, resulting in tragedy. Alternatively, the foster parent remains on the Dharma path and so remains emotionally distant from their charges – as in Locke's case. The purposes for which the children were always intended are lonely, demanding, and requiring resourcefulness; their lives were designed to engineer just the right kind of people for life on the fortress island.

The exact purposes of the remaining survivors are unknown: perhaps more than Walt will be required for the new CC, and Hurley needs a partner for inputting numbers. Certainly, there needs to be a Dharma-style community in place to support the island and particularly if the truth of what happened to them is uncovered. They need to feel that they are part of something great rather than mere subjects manipulated and controlled all their lives.

There are some grand themes in Lost as presented in this theory, such as: free-will versus pre-destination. The CC acts like God, controlling every aspect of their lives to prepare them for a higher purpose… But do the ends justify the means? And do we have free-will if we are purely the sum of every experience in our lives? etc. etc..

There is more, but that's the gist. I have to go to bed; it's been a long day. 

Q. How can Claire remain pregnant (and other things keep) throughout suspended animation?
A. In theory, all bodily functions are suspended – including the growth of a fetus. Other objects, if stored correctly – out of sunlight, in dry cool conditions – will not age. Perishable goods can be frozen or replaced.

Q. What is the significance of the individual numbers of the satellite code number: 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42?
A. There is no intrinsic significance of the numbers beyond the show. They are not an obscure occult reference or have any scientific/mathematical relevance whatsoever. They are the passcode that stops the satellite from zapping the hatch – the security system to protect the island and its secrets. Within the realms of me making things up about Lost: the fact that the numbers get larger suggests arithmetic progression; the numbers are minutes adding up to 108 minutes (the time it takes the satellite to orbit the earth); the satellite is asked to perform a task at 4 minutes, then 8 minutes later, then 15 minutes later and so on, but what that is probably doesn't matter.

Q. The poles have reversed many times in the past and has not caused a cataclysm. What's the big deal?
A. Scientific opinion varies on this. The important thing, as far as Lost is concerned, is that the world BELIEVES a catastrophic polar reversal-type cataclysm has occurred and that the Dharma Initiative has re-inforced this belief with sufficiently convincing illusion. It's not the end of the world – just the end of the old world order.

Q. This theory is too complex for a TV audience, isn't it?
A. Yes, this written is too complex, but in the form a TV show with good editing and better – more concise – writing, it could all be explained in one episode – maybe two; let's call them Revelation parts 1 and 2.

Q. What about Ana-Lucia – and Kate – experiencing the actual crash: this contradicts the suspended animation theory.
A. Ana-Lucia wakes up in the water – we do not see her ACTUALLY hit the water; in the same way, Jack was placed in the jungle, having had a metal shard inserted in his side, and then woken up, Ana was simply put in the water and woken up. As for Kate, providing she was telling the truth about experiencing the actual crash (she has lied quite a few times before), she was either mistaken or misled by the CC.

Q. But we see the tail-end of the plane hit the water! It did crash!
A. We do see the tail-end hit the water; but we do not see any passengers hit the water. Perhaps, this would be too graphic for a TV audience… but perhaps the CC threw this debris to the earth as part of the staging of the crash. We see an empty seat hit the beach and fly at the camera. Also, we see the tail bits coming down…then a black screen with the words "Day 1"……..THEN we see Ana in the water.

Q. How do you explain Walt's appearances?
A. Walt is with the Scientist Others, near or in the CC area; he is either being allowed to use – or is somehow hacking into – their technology. In the same way that Jack's father was projected, Walt is being projected; however they are reversing the audio so he can't really give anything away. He is being trained, hence "special boy".

Q. The idea of a CC, as described here, is too easy. Electromagnetism covers virtually everything in the universe – it's a licence to make up anything.
A. Almost, but not quite: the CC has its limitations……for instance, it may only be able to work on a global scale VIA THE SATELLITE – so it is not omnipresent, but dependent on orbits for coverage. Unfortunately, one of the few tangible things in Lost that could be considered 'evidence' (as opposed to a potential trick) is the big electromagnet in the hatch. A lot of this theory is extrapolation from that point. It might also be noted that a lot of seemingly impossible things have happened in the show that a group of largely intelligent survivors have been unable to rationally explain. If the answer wasn't slightly fantastical, I wouldn't believe it.

Q. What is the black smoke – and is it different to the black fog?
A. The column of black smoke that has been occasionally visible from the beach was man-made; the Renegade Others burn certain material to cast metal particles and general guff into the air so as to provide cover against the CC – like chaff from a jet. The black fog, on the other hand, is fine metal dust in the electromagnetic control of the CC.

Q. Do you work for ABC or another company 'running interference'?
A. No. I am actually this sad.

Caveat: I don't necessarily agree with any of this theory: please do not take it too seriously: please do not send me threatening emails…. or, at least be original. 

Authour: andrew smith
link2: (The Black Box Theory)


About this entry