It's long, but it's SO WORTH IT. Trust me on this one.
Again, this isn't MY theory, I'm just posting it on my friend's behalf.
The Valenzetti Equation is a mathematical formula designed to predict the end of the world. Through research of this equation, the end of the world was found to be 4:23:42 pm on April 8th, 2015. This is the significance of the series of numbers: 4:8:15:16:23:42.
It was once stated that “the Dharma Initiative set out to find a way to change the Valenzetti Equation.” Their strategy for avoiding the end of the world was to create a time machine to prevent the world from ever reaching the year 2015, at least in an isolated location where some pocket of humanity could thrive. Perhaps this location could at first be used as an experiment for proof of concept and then perhaps if the process is perfected, the entire Earth can be saved. The island was chosen as this location for one of two reasons: either it was just remote enough that it would be easy to protect it from external disturbance that could disrupt the research, or the island had some intrinsic properties that made it special. I lean towards the former, but I could be swayed either way.
A key piece of the functionality of the time machine was the installation of a gigantic magnet underground beneath the island. This obviously causes the unusual electromagnetic abnormalities experienced there. At some point, probably in the 1980’s (let’s say 1988 for the sake of argument), the time machine was completed. From this point on, the Island exists in a sort of space-time bubble which is separated from the timeline of the rest of the universe. The Swan station is used to reset the machine periodically to always keep the time machine locked at the original start date in 1988. So as long as the Swan is functioning, the island will remain locked in 1988 while the rest of the world/universe proceeds through time normally.
When Desmond/Kelvin discussed how the resetting of the Hatch computer was “saving the world” - this is quite literally true. Keeping the island in 1988 allows them to avoid ever reaching 2015 when humanity is doomed. I believe that after the Hatch was imploded, time on the island would begin moving forward in time with the rest of universe. It would still be locked approximately 19 or 20 years in the past compared to the rest of reality, but it would move forward nonetheless.
Now, a very important concept in this theory is the fact that entering the bubble of the time machine will basically create two separate threads of reality for anyone/anything that enters. So, for example, when the plane crashes onto the island it passes through the boundaries of the time bubble. One “copy” of the plane remains outside in reality where it crashes to the bottom of the ocean and everyone dies in the 2004. The other “copy” enters the island in the year 1988 where many people survive.
Around the perimeter of the island, I believe there is only one way to leave the time bubble. Michael and Walt were given this exact bearing so that they could leave. Whenever anyone else tried to leave on the sailboat, they were unsuccessful because they didn’t know where to leave.
Here is a brief list of some strange anomalies that I think can be explained with this theory:
1) Lock and Rose were healed when they arrived on the island. This is because the only “copy” of them now exists in 1988 when both of them were perfectly healthy.
2) When Naomi crashed on the island she had a phone/communication device that Sayid mentioned was slightly more advanced than anything he had seen. This is because Sayid crashed in 2004. Though he’d only spent what seemed like 90 days on the island, it was probably 2007 or so in reality when Naomi crashed onto the island.
3) Women cannot conceive on the island but they can give birth to babies conceived before they arrived. This is because a child conceived on the island is conceived in the year 1988. This child does not exist in the true reality. The termination of the pregnancy is part of the universe’s course correction (we will address course correction in detail shortly).
4) Desmond’s premonitions. Desmond is different from the other people in the Lost crew. He did not crash on a plane and theoretically never died in reality. So when he arrives at the island, there now exist TWO living copies of Desmond in separate threads of reality. One remains in 1988 while the other moves forward through time. This would explain perfectly why he can see into the future.
5) Walt appears to have aged more than everyone else when he returns to the island after having left it. It’s possible that Walt and Michael leave for a number of years before returning to the island. Very little time has passed on the island compared to how much time they spent in the real world during their time away. This plays into a statement from Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof: “We’ve always known Malcolm was going to grow faster than we could shoot the show. And we planned for it. Trust us. Please trust us.” If Walt’s age abnormality was always planned, that should indicate that some sort of time plot was planned from the start.
6) The Other known as Richard doesn’t appear to age. He is also known to have left island at some point(s). I’m not sure exactly how this would tie in, but it could be a clue to his state.
7) The Others seem to be able to gather incredibly detailed information about the survivors in an extremely short period of time. Since it’s 1988 on the island and it’s the future outside the island, if the Others can use DHARMA’s equipment to access contacts on the other side, they can get answers from the future.
8) Christian Shephard. His body was on the plane that crashed. Perhaps his body going back in time brought him back to life on the island (similar to the healings of Locke/Rose). This could account for his empty coffin, the fact that he’s been seen on the island (which, of course, could also just be another hallucination), and the fact that Jack refers to him in the flashforward as being alive. The crash would’ve created 2 copies of his body – one in the 2004 reality plane (dead) and a resurrected 1988 one on the island. This is a different scenario from survivors of the crash who die on the island, ending the life of the only remaining copy of themselves. Additionally, Christian was seen in one of the online videos instructing Vincent to wake Jack. This seems impossible to be a hallucination (unless the dog was hallucinating?) and the fact that Christian goes off alone rather than joining the other survivors indicates to me that he has some pre-existing knowledge or ties to the island. After I wrote this, I watched last night’s new episode and seeing Christian in the cabin has reinforced this a bit!
9) Locke began to lose feeling in his legs when he was near the ‘?’ area on the map. It’s entirely possible that this was just a ruse by Locke to somehow manipulate Boone, but I think it’s somewhat likely that the ‘?’ area, being located in the center of the island’s time machine, is the location of the portal that connects the two threads of reality. Locke’s proximity to this area could have been what caused him to begin reverting back to his paralyzed state.
I can’t directly explain all of the tremendous coincidences that occur between characters (Hurley’s lotto with the numbers, Yemi’s plane crashing on the island, the “real” Sawyer being Locke’s dad thing, etc. etc.) but I feel very confident that all of those things have to do with the concept of “course correction” by the universe. As Desmond explained in relation to Charlie’s death - you can only postpone it, but the universe will eventually catch up and correct itself. I think that this, on a broader scale, it’s what’s happening on the show as the universe tries to get back on course and correct itself to appropriately end humanity at the scheduled date and undo the attempts to prevent our demise with a time machine.
The universe orchestrates what seems to be an absurdly complex string of coincidences and interconnectedness between characters in order to create the right set of variables for that plane to crash on the island and those people to inadvertently destroy the time machine and put the world back on its course for destruction.
This concept of “course correction” as a plot device is, in my opinion, a brilliant tool for the writers of the show. It allows them to weave an intricate network of plot elements that seem ridiculously impossible and complex, but all those otherwise unexplainable loose ends can be tied together in the form of universal course correction.
I suspect that course correction may come into play more in the future of the show where we will see many or all of the characters who were “supposed to die” in the plane crash facing inevitable and inescapable death as the universe is catching up to them. This, obviously, is just a wild guess for the future of the show.
A little side note that ties into this theory: I believe the Polar Bears on the island are a reference to the concept of being in danger of extinction. Humans are using the island as their means to try to fend off extinction and the polar bear is an iconic animal when it comes to endangerment. The choice of these animals as a research species on the island could simply be a piece of symbolism by the Lost writers.
As he is LJ-less, if you'd like to leave him a comment, you can do it HERE where he's also listed some sources and thanks :D