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Meaning of "Cease to Be"

When Widmore talks with Jin about how if "...that thing masquerading as John Locke..." got off the Island, "...your wife, your daughter. My daughter. Everyone we know and love, would simply cease to be". This section is for theories on what "Cease to Be" means.

  • Literally, cease to be. Vanish, Die.
  • That the relationships we value would cease to be. For Jin, he never gets married to Sun, and does not have a daughter. For Widmore, he never gets to meet whoever he had Penny with. It just means that the family and loved ones we care for and are fighting for now (in the OT), all that would no longer exist. But those people would exist and have all different relationships (in the FST which would become the only timeline).
  • This universe/timeline would cease, not exist.
  • Die.
  • Most everybody in the outside world would succumb to the Infection, becoming soul-less zombies who follow the MiB. Those immune would just be killed by the unshootable smoke monster.
  • It would create the flash-sideways timeline. He specifically says "your wife, your daughter. My daughter... would simply cease to be." Sideways Sun just got shot in the stomach, so probably no daughter will be born. Jin and Sun are not married, so no wife. We haven't yet seen Penny... so perhaps she was never born in the flash sideways.

The Infection - Sayid and Claire

Sayid is suffering effects of the "Infection"

  • Sayid said "I don't feel anything...anger, happiness, pain..I don't feel it anymore", MiB replied "Maybe that's for the best Sayid, it will help you get through to what's coming". There is a darkness spreading through Sayid and once it has reached his heart, he will be forever changed. Dogen went on to reveal that this same thing had afflicted Jack's sister, Claire. In a similar vein.
  • Nietzsche said that "When you stare into the abyss the abyss stares back at you." When Sayid looks into the abyss, he is consumed by the guilt of his deeds in life and falls into the emotional abyss.
  • Sayid's symptoms are more advanced, more quickly because of the amount of evil or "sins" that he has committed.
    • Or because he died and came back to life.
  • Sayid can't feel because he is still going through the Infection's transformation.
  • The MIB has been through "what's coming" before and knows that being numb is best for Sayid. Sayid will possibly turn into black smoke as well.
    • When MiB tells Sayid, "Maybe that's for the best Sayid, it will help you get through what's coming," he is referring to the coming war, in which he will likely rely on Sayid to murder the other candidates (his former friends), which would be easier for Sayid if he is unencumbered by emotional attachment.

Sayid is dead and is now a zombie

  • Sayid was medically dead, dead is dead.
    • Sayid literally states, in the episode "What Kate Does", "No, I am not a zombie."

Claire is not infected.

  • She has none of Sayid's symptoms.
  • She never died.
  • She is somewhat unbalanced and is suffering acute separation anxiety. Her behavior with the skeleton doll was odd but as she was able to analyze it ("it's all I had") she is clearly sane.
  • Claire, on the other hand, is just loony from having been alone on the island for so long with only the poison tongue of MiB and her "father" as company.

Claire is at a different stage of Infection

  • Dogen revealed that this same infection afflicted Claire.
  • When Claire looks into the abyss, she has nothing to fear, and that keeps her out of the abyss and she can still have "feelings".
  • The moment Claire started acting weird was after the Dharma house she was occupying was destroyed with an RPG and she was miraculously unscathed. There were even theories that she was actually "dead," and Miles had a line implying it was so, or at least that something strange had occurred to her. It's possible she was dead for a brief moment but the Sickness brought her back to life, except changed. After this, she walked away from her baby and was seen in the cabin acting very much "dead inside" as we see Sayid now.

Sayid has "battle fatigue"

  • "Battle fatigue" may causing a temporary emotional blackout. Post-traumatic stress disorder is common among soldiers and can be triggered or "re-lived" long after the original trauma that caused it has dissipated. This battle-induced trauma is further compounded by the loss of his beloved Nadia (twice - before and after the Oceanic 815 crash) and of Shannon, and a desperate promise of having Nadia returned alive, by the MiB. Subconsciously he could also be connecting his being brought to the island as the source of all his woes and sees the rest of his days as meaningless.

The infection is not actually an infection

  • The infection is nothing but being submitted blindly to the MiB and doing everything he asks for.

Sayid will become the new Monster

  • Perhaps the Man In Black knows what Sayid is going through so knows it is better for him to be 'numb' because he went through the same thing. If Jacob is looking for somebody to replace him then maybe the Man In Black has been as well. This could also be why he gave Sayid control of the camp because he wanted to see how he would hold up, or he was just trying to gain his trust. This could also be why he was so interested in Sawyer at the start but realised that Sayid would be better to replace him as he already has a lot of darkness inside of him.

"Sayid is a blank slate"

  • As per the philosopher John Locke people are born tabula rasa or as a blank slate with no pre-existing knowledge about the world. The infection begins with wiping the victim and setting them at this blank slate, then the experiences received on the island are then the only experiences that they know and feel.
    • That is interesting. Perhaps its a side effect of the pool? Didn't Ben "forget" about everything that happened to him once he was dipped? I remember at least Richard saying that afterwords he would no longer be himself, he would be "one of them".
  • Claire was put at a blank slate and became obsessed with Aaron because that was the only thing that mattered to her on the island
  • Now Sayid is a blank slate and the MiB can make him whatever he wants

Sayid has lost his soul

  • Killing Dogen and Lennon was the tipping point. After that horrible decision and act, Sayid lost his soul. I suspect that this will have several consequences, most likely the loss of free will. Sayid will become a servant of the MiB (think of the Ringwraiths serving Sauron).

"Bleed overs" between FST and OT


It is hypothesized that the FST and OT will 'merge' or be seen as a single timeline. The producers are quoted as saying that this will occur. [source needed] and that the two time-lines somehow affect each other when they were asked the significance of Jack's bleeding small cut he noticed during the flight in LA X Part 1.


The FST and the OT are merging. Evidence:

  1. Sun lost the ability to speak English in the OT, because she never learned English in the FS timeline.
    • Sun can still understand and write English.
  1. In the FST, Sun looks in the mirror, and hesitates, apparently seeing "something" beyond or in the mirror, Ditto Jack looking at his scar in the FST. All the FST-centric characters have had a significant moment in the mirror so far; Kate when she found the stuffed toy in Claire's bag, Locke in his house, Sawyer when he punched it, and so on.
  2. Mikhail was shot in the eye by Jin and in the OT, he wore an eye patch.
  3. Sawyer works in police and has Miles as his partner, as they were in Dharma security.
  4. Desmond was on FST Oceanic 815 but disappears during the flight, and has now reappeared in OT as Widmore's "package".

Evidence-involving mirrors

  1. FST Sun scrutinizes herself in a mirror directly before OT Sun loses her ability to speak English.
  2. Jack does the same in LA X before noticing the cut on his neck, then recognizing Desmond. He is puzzled by the appearance of the cut, implying he didn't know how he had received it. Support: Jack gets his appendix removed on the island. (Something Nice Back Home)
  3. In What Kate Does, Kate has a lot of bleedover when she is changing after getting her handcuffs off, and she does all this directly in front of a mirror.
  4. In Lighthouse, it appears as though Jack has another weird feeling when he notices his appendix scar, again in front of a mirror. He is puzzled by the scar, acting as though he had never seen it before, though it had apparently been there since he was a kid.
  5. Jacob used mirrors in the lighthouse to watch the candidates. This might suggest that mirrors can act as windows to watch other places, universes or possibilities. It is possible that people in FST are unconsciously watching the OT or its effects when they are looking into a mirror.
  • To add to this argument, I'll just point out that historically, Lost has carried many, many references to the works of Lewis Carroll (Looking Glass station with the white rabbit logo, use of white rabbits in general, etc etc). Using mirrors as the bridge between the two timelines would make perfect sense in this light.

Theories related to MiB Escaping The Island

Theory 1: Merger of the Timelines

  • The Man In Black escaping the Island will trigger a merger of the two timelines.
  • OT will merge into FST at a date/time determined by the direction the plane is flown away from the island (think “Shape of Things to Come” when the freighter doctor’s body washed up on shore before he was killed and thrown overboard).
  • Merging from one timeline into another allows memories/experiences to be retained subconsciously from the old line into the new line.
  1. Widmore indicated that him leaving the island will cause everyone to “cease to exist” (dead).
  2. Dying apparently results in your soul/psyche joining the alt. universe
  3. Juliet’s dying words indicate meeting Sawyer in another world where “…we can go dutch".
  4. Miles reading Juliet’s last thoughts as “…it worked” (ie. Jughead)
  5. Changes between FST and OT are post 1974 (most likely), not post flight 815
  6. The constant sense of deja vu experienced by the 815ers in the FST world
  7. The subtle/dramatic changes in the lives of the 815ers - as if they had somehow experienced the personal growth they had gone through on the island, but in the FST

Theory 2: FST wins out over the OT and becomes the only surviving reality.

  • Jacob's and MiB's existences are intrinsically tied to the existence of the timelines. They are an 'entangled' entity, one from each timeline. Widmore told Jin that his wife and daughter would "cease to be" if the Man in Black gets off the island. He means this literally; it will be as if they have never existed. The OT will cease to exist, and the FST will be all that there is.
    • OT is a timeline which has lots of 'course corrections', event manipulation, strange coincidences etc.
    • FST is a timeline which appears "normal" except that some events in the FST match very closely events in the OT; however these seem random and insignificant in the scheme of things.
  • We know that Jacob has appeared in the OT; it is his influence and the influences of the 'others' such as Widmore, Hawking and Abbadon which have been responsible for many of the events occurring in the OT. Jacob is now dead. If MiB escapes from the island, then he takes with him the power/energy/necessity/universal correction force or whatever it is that is keeping the OT sustained as a viable reality. Jacob is defeated, Jacob is no more, and the OT ceases to be; not only that it will be as if it has never been. Reality will revert to a state without the island, without Jacob, but with MiB. This is why it is a "darkness"; for all those existing in the OT, there is literally nothing... they will all cease to exist.
    • This cannot be the case, since the FST includes an island (now underwater) with the barracks and sonar fence, suggesting that whatever occurred in the FST still included events with Dharma
    • In FST, Ben and his father lived on the island with the Dharma Initiative for a time, but left for undisclosed reasons.
    • On the other hand, it could be true, but only to a point. Pre-Oceanic crash events may have occurred per the physical evidence seen on the submerged island. But if the plane flew over the sunken island and landed safely in LA, then the lives of all that Jacob had brought to the island on flight 815 may never have been altered by him. This could explain differences such as Hurley's good luck, Jin and Sun's relationship, and Locke and Helen's as well.

Theory 3: MiB wants all of the candidates to leave together so that no one is left to replace Jacob. If he leaves the island he cannot come back, and so he has to take all of the Candidates with him otherwise someone will replace Jacob.

  • I would take it one step further to guess the MiB needs to kill all of the remaining candidates, not just have them leave.
    • I don't think MiB is allowed to kill candidates himself (he couldn't kill Jacob, and had to use a circuitous plan). Having them leave with him would probably accomplish his goal all the same, but given his furious desire to leave he will probably try to instigate the murder of the remaining candidates - he has a group of followers, after all, perhaps for this very reason.
    • Yes, seemingly MiB can not kill them himself or he would have done so by now. But somehow I would guess the MiB, being evil, will have them die. It makes more sense than having them go on a vacation with him. I can't picture a scene where Flocke and all the Losties are seated in the plane about to take off like it's headed for Disneyland.
      • MiB was told by the blonde boy vision that he was not allowed to kill him (likely meaning Sawyer at the time). So it would make sense that if he can't kill the candidates directly, moving them off the Island will allow MiB to be free.
        • Or, like it's been said, Mib will make sure the candidates somehow die by someone else's doing or kill each other. Jacob said there will always be a replacement and MiB ensured he would kill all of them too (from Ab Aeterno).

Theory 4: MiB wants all of the candidates to leave together, because he does not know which one is going to replace Jacob. Only the person acting in the 'office of Jacob', can choose to let the MiB leave the island.

  • Evidence
    • The MiB told Jacob "do you know how badly I want to kill you". This implies that Jacob is keeping the MiB on the island. That also implies that Jacob is capable of letting the MiB leave if he so chooses.
    • MiB needed Ben to bring all of the Oceanic 6 back to the island, because he didnt know which one was Jacob's replacement and he needed Jacob's replacement to make the choice to let him leave.

Theory 5: MIB is taking all of the candidates with him off the Island. Once is gone, he is released from the "wine bottle" and is free to do whatever he wants. This includes killing the candidates.

  • Evidence
    • Jacob told Richard about the purpose of the Island. He said its purpose is to keep the wine (hell, evil, malevolence, etc.) inside. If the wine left the bottle, it would be free to do whatever it wants, with no boundaries whatsoever.

Theory 6: MIB is not escaping at all, he ceases to exist in the events that sink the island (before the incident), which has to involve time travelling. The FST is the ultimate outcome of the show (even including some course-correction and "divine" intervention by Jacob). So, it is even possible that we see some major sacrifices of the main characters, that will be undone at the end of the show / the definitive establishment of the FST. Don't be too sad! See FST is the outcome of the show!

Theory 7: MIB needs all the candidates to leave with him otherwise it 'won't work'

  • Evidence
    • Five of O6 had to be on Ajira, or according to Eloise it wouldn't have worked.

Theory 8: MiB doesn't need to, and indeed has no intention to, physically 'leave' the island with the candidates. All he needs to be free is for there to be no Jacob and no remaining candidates on the island. Jacob has been dealt with; once he convinces the remaining 6 candidates to leave, or kills them, he wins.

Theory 9: MiB can only leave the island with Jacob's replacement. It is not lack of transportation that prevents MiB from leaving, but a rule that he cannot break. Jacob (or whoever occupies his position) is the key to the MiB's freedom. Jacob would never agree to leave with MiB, so MiB needed to kill him so a new, naive guardian would be chosen by the island. MiB could more easily trick the new guardian into releasing him. MiB doesn't know which candidate will replace Jacob, so he plans on bringing them all. Once off the island, no longer bound by the rules of the island, he would be free to kill the candidates.

    • Counter-argument - As we've seen before in previous cases, the Island still has a grip on people even if they're off the island. This happened with Jack who wanted to come back, Michael when he couldn't kill himself because the island wasn't done with him yet. There are many more examples.

Concerning Kate and Claire

  • MiB lied to Claire when she asked him if her name was written on the wall of that cave. Her name was there and it was crossed out, just like Kate's. And since MiB said that he needs Kate just to convince the other three candidates to join his group and then he would not care for her, he would do the same with Claire; he needs her for some purpose and once she does it, he would not care for her either.
  • He needs Claire as leverage to get Jack on his side. So far the two of them have not met knowing that they are related to one another, Jack only found this out once he returned home and Claire has no idea. But Locke knows who Christian Shephard was and would know of their connection and will use it to his advantage. MIB cannot kill the candidates, only have someone else do it for him, or remove the candidates from being able to replace Jacob. He believes it is in everyone's nature to do wrong and is trying to prove Jacob wrong. By causing them to become crossed off or removed from candidacy one by one he is winning the game.

The Pylons, The Pockets and The Black Smoke

  • The pylons that Widmore deployed are not directly connected with any (visible) power source. It was stated, that there are several pockets of energy all over the island. The pylons channel the electromagnetic energy of an underlying pocket. The resulting force-field can stop the black smoke and also causes a resonance that makes it hard for humans (or other creatures) to go through.
  • The ashes are effective for the same reason. They contain iron (given their color) that stores magnetic properties of these pockets. If this ash is then connected as a circle, it creates a kind of magnetic force-field like the pylons (just in "small" and without the resonance).
  • So DHARMA-ville which is surrounded by the pylons is built upon such a pocket of energy. That could also explain how the black smoke can be summoned ("Dead Is Dead"): the draining water disturbs the energy or even sets a small amount of it free, alarming/calling "the monster".
  • The Black Smoke being bound to and by this energy also explains why he can't travel over water, or flight, or even reach the beach. He probably has to be connected to the energy of these pockets to consume his power - all the mechanic sounds and flashes support that there is some kind of energy involved. In his human form (MIB/Locke) he doesn't seem to be depending on this energy but he also seems to be a lot less powerful (otherwise he wouldn't have to turn into his black smoke form to finish off his "victims").
  • The Monster is some sort of condensed, tangible, visible form of the island's electromagnetic energy. There was an incident on the island in the past involving MIB coming too physically close in contact with a pocket of electromagnetic energy and being permanently modified as a result. This involved Jacob in some capacity, hence MIB blaming Jacob for his smoke monster form.

The tomato symbolizes the flash sideways characters

On first viewing, the tomato seemed like a cutesy symbol for... something. Sun's determination in pursuing Jin on the surface, but it presumably foreshadowed something else. Likely Sun's dodging death in the near future. Or her dodging death in the flash sideways - it soon turned out that she did recover from that shooting.

But that interpretation ignored that Lost doesn't reward perseverance. On Lost, you must let go. In fact it wasn't called "the tenacious tomato", was it - it was the stubborn tomato. Stubbornly ignoring that it was... "supposed to die".

"No one told it it was supposed to die" doesn't mean "It triumphed over its probable death", though Jack might have meant it that way. It meant that it was supposed to die but didn't realize it. It was waiting for someone to wake it up to the reality of its own death.

Sun and Jin's flash sideways condensed their entire relationship

  • Their initial state, secretive about their affair, symbolized their relationship's early secrecy as depicted in "House of the Rising Sun"'s first flashback.
  • Their night together in the hotel symbolized the start of their marriage.
  • Their discussion the next morning symbolized their troubles in the early parts of the marriage - specifically, pressure and danger from Mr. Paik.
  • The shootout symbolized how, while alive, Jin's violent lifestyle threatened their relationship.
  • Sun's recovery symbolized their reconciliation on the Island.
  • "The baby is fine" symbolized their successfully conceiving.

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