Main Article Theories about
Good and bad people
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Defining Good & Bad

  • Ben decides who is good and who is bad.
    • "Good people" are people who work with the system, who do not break the rules of the system to get what they want. People who contribute to society rather than leech off of it. Ultimately, sheep.
    • "Bad' people infringe on the status quo that The Others have enjoyed, perhaps for decades.
    • "Good" people let Ben lead. The terminology is part of the philosophy that Ben uses to keep his people in line. Their reward is the knowledge that they are inherently 'good' when really they just allow themselves to be kept in line.
    • Anyone who doesn't support their community is an outsider and is branded, exiled, and otherwise made an outsider, i.e, BAD.
    • It is ironic that we viewers call Ben's people "The Others." In actuality they are squatters. They were on The Island first. So from their perspective, the Losties are the usurpers.
    • "Good" people are ones that can be manipulated easily, either by psychological predisposition or via blackmail/guilt. **"Bad" people have nothing to exploit, or are too cautious to fall for the manipulation.
    • It seems inaccurate to call Ben a "good" person, because he killed his own father without any warning and Roger himself didn't kill anyone.
    • Collectively, the definition of "good" and "bad" is arbitrary and doesn't have anything to do with morality.


  • Jacob decides who is good and who is bad. This would make sense, since Jacob made the list.
    • There is no proof that Jacob made the list, since Ben is the only one who "talks" to him. It could actually be Ben's List instead.
  • "Good" people might be those who have let go of something on the island, such as Locke letting go of his father. "Bad" people are those still struggling to let go, such as jack not letting go of his father.


  • There must be more to the Others' classification of "good" and "bad" than just whether or not the person has committed a crime/killed someone. The Others' label of "good" and "bad" seems fairly warped as the "good" people (according to Ben) killed God knows how many people in the Purge. Also Ben was urging to get Locke to kill his own father.
    • Ben may be able to justify his actions in both these cases - The Hostiles and DHARMA were warring for years. Each stide would have probably killed each other off entirely, if given the chance, including innocents. By 'purging' one side Ben ensured that at least one side would survive and prosper.
      • That just indicates that both sides (Others and DHARMA) are "bad," doesn't it?
    • It could also be claimed that Ben only asked Locke to kill his father because he knew he wouldn't be able to do it.
      • Ben asked Locke to kill his father in front of all of the Others. If Ben was doing something he shouldn't, he would have lost his standing with the Others. Ben wouldn't risk that, so he must not have been doing something wrong in giving John that order.

Biblical Theory


  • Bad people break the Ten Commandments: most notably "Thou shall not kill."
    • Many have died inadvertently due to Hurley's bad luck.
      • Hurley's bad luck had nothing to do with breaking any Commandments, religious or otherwise.
    • Kate killed her step-father. People were killed during her bank robbery. Her childhood sweetheart died as a result of helping her. The marshal died as a result of injuries from the crash when he was escorting Kate back to the United States.
    • When Jack told the truth about his father's botched surgery, Jack put his father on the path to suicide by alcoholism.
      • Drinking himself to death was Christian's own idea, for which Jack should not be held morally responsible.
      • Also, if Jack hadn't told the truth, he would have been guilty of bearing false witness.
    • Jack chose to operate on Sarah rather than on Shannon's father. He died as a result.
    • Jack chose not to save a woman from drowning, so that he could save Boone from drowing. By his own admission, he chose to save Boone and let her drown.
      • The above two cases would not be instances of commandment violations. Jack had to choose to save one person or neither person. This is not murder, but an example of the unfortunate fact that Jack can't save absolutely everyone.
    • Sayid killed and tortured many during the war. He also "bore false witness" when he encouraged Essam to be a suicide bomber.
    • Eko killed many during his drug-trade days, and killed two Others after the crash.
    • Sawyer "bore false witness" in every con he ever took part in. He "coveted his neighbors" every time he slept with a married woman. And he killed Frank Duckett and Tom Friendly.
    • Juliet slept with a married man. She was branded and exiled after having killed Danny Pickett and encouraging Jack to kill Ben. She also "bore false witness" in her lies about the real state of Claire's pregnancy.

Good people change events


  • If we assume that time travel exists, it is possible that the Others' work on the island is really about changing events in the past in order to bring about a new future.
  • Only the "good people" can do something to change events.
    • Mrs. Hawking is a bad person because she knows the fate of the man wearing red shoes but she doesn't do anything to change it.
      • She herself stated that had he been saved, he would've died soon after anyway.
      • She knew that changing the past is useless because "the universe has a way of course-correcting."
    • Desmond is a good person because he knows how the soccer game ends with the barman getting hit with a cricket bat and he himself was hit with the bat instead. He also tries to ask Penny to marry him, even though Mrs. Hawking tells him he is not meant to marry her.


  • "Great" men are the genetic fathers of "good" children. Charles Widmore, Hassan Jarrah, Alvar Hanso, and "Him", are some example of "great" men.
  • "Great" is used in an ironic manner, obliquely referencing Lord Acton's quote "Great men are almost always bad men". The full quote contains the more famous "absolute power corrupts absolutely": "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority."

Grey hanso2.JPG

  • "Goodness" might not be about behavior, but about genetics. The Hanso Foundation has funded research on Juxtapositional Eugenics and if The Others are a part of The Hanso Foundation they might be looking with people with certain genes - good people for the research.
  • In the Roman Republic, the "boni" ("Good Men," or "Optimates") were a political faction made up of the aristocracy. They sought to limit the power of the plebeians, or common people. The Others may similarly see themselves as an elite group who derive their status from being genetically "superior," just as the "boni" inherited their status.
    • This could be related to the Blast Door Map notation, "Malum consilium quod mutari non potest." ("It is a bad plan that can't be changed.") Radzinsky was one of the "bad people" ("mali") forming a plan to sabotage the work of the self-proclaimed "good people" ("boni"), i.e., The Others.

Blastdoor Map

  • The Eumenides ("the good ones") is the Greek name for the Furies, spirits who lived in the underworld and rose up to brutally punish wrong doing, particularly murderers of family. It may be that this term is used to distinguish killers from non-killers. The Others often proclaim that they are not killers, and their punishments (branding Juliet, brainwashing Karl) are often quite severe.
  • The definition of a "good person" might be someone without any discrimination or prejudicial attitudes. Psychological research shows that children who learn and experience prejudice firsthand become much more tolerant adults and often actively opposed to discrimination in society as a whole. This could explain why children are taken by the Others, along with any adults who are so 'enlightened' (for instance, Eko as a priest seems very tolerant of others and was almost abducted).

    Mr Eko

    This could also perhaps put a new spin on the recurrent 'black and white' theme in the show, demonstrating divides in society on not just the issue of race but other forms of discrimination we experience in life. More information and an example of prejudice research showing the effects of the research on child participants can be found here [1]. Thus, perhaps the Others are scientists researching how to end prejudice in society, or how to promote a utopian society in which the population is strongly opposed to oppression. This could in the part explain the Others' hillbilly disguises as a sort of psychological test. Those who remain open to contact with the Others despite their appearance might be viewed as "good."
  • In regards to 'the list', perhaps the Others or a group in charge of the Others hand selected the passengers of flight 815 by deliberately coercing them to Australia from the outside world. The Others wanted these few good people on the island and didn't care about the rest who didn't survive the crash. Or perhaps the Others assessed the survivors and determined the "good" ones within the first few days, kidnapping the children because there is still hope to convert them to "goodness."
    • The idea of assessment seems most likely. Ethan had little chance to assess the mid-section group, and so only made away with Claire due to her pregnancy (children seem to be 'good' in the Others' eyes). Meanwhile, Goodwin was only able to spot three of four 'good' people during his first day with the Tailies. It took him over a week to pinpoint the other nine survivors he wanted.
      • Supposedly, the Tailies taken the first night were the strongest, not the 'best'
    • It is unlikely that the Others coerced anyone into being on flight 815. The crash was an accident caused by Desmond, so the Others had no idea any of these people would arrive on the island.
  • There is intentional misdirection on behalf of the producers. Viewers are often led to believe people are bad, when they are in fact good, or vice versa. Originally Jin seemed bad, but in fact, Sun had betrayed him. Christian seemed bad, but it appears that he was concerned for an obsessive son.
  • The Others are socialists. They believe that Locke alone of the flight 815 survivors is a good person because Locke had been a member of a farming commune.

Good People vs. Bad People

Daniel Faraday

  • The Others have a list of 'good people' and 'bad people', and seem quite concerned about it. Perhaps the 'bad people' are those who are 'unstuck in time' like Desmond and Minkowski, and so need to be quarantined because they have the ability to change the past/future, and so are pretty dangerous.
    • Daniel says you can't change the future.
      • "Can't change the future" means the future is fated. It doesn't rule out changing the past. And Daniel could be wrong.
      • Seeing the note about Desmond in his journal proved that the future can be changed.
        • It is quite possible that the note itself proves that Faraday did remember Desmond's arrival to the university quite well. Furthermore, it may imply that Faraday is a time traveler who just cured himself by ensuring his constant (which has been there from the beginning) met him in the past. Last but not least, the note itself makes little sense at all, as there's no guarantee for the past Faraday that Desmond had survived his unstuck consciousness.
  • There is a somewhat simpler concept. Perhaps if the Island has the capacity to facilitate time-travel, someone able to fully control this power (the Others) could use it to see the future, but possibly only to a limited extent of seeing the individual futures of individual people (tracking their time-line in a sense). In this way, by whatever value system they have, they can gauge anyone as good or bad as they have seen the totality of their life.
  • There are no bad and no good people. They are just part of two different sides. Jacob and the MiB are playing a game like backgammon, and people are their pawns.

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