Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Extinction or Evolution?

Remember Alien X from Walt's comic?

Turns out he was originally misunderstood due to a failure to communicate with the first Flash and Green Lantern. By the time the latter two realized that Alien X wasn't a threat, it was too late. I'm beginning to think a similarly serious misunderstanding characterizes the Valenzetti Equation and what precisely it predicts.

The Sri Lanka Orientation leads us to believe that the Valenzetti marks the time left before humanity's extinction. Hanso and Dharma's efforts were reportedly devoted to influencing the core factors of the Equation in an effort to postpone this doomsday, whether by "nuclear fire, chemical and biological warfare, conventional warfare, pandemic, over-population."

But what if they got the doomsday part wrong? I believe that metaphors like Locke's tabula rasa and Charlie's moth are hints that the Equation doesn't predict the apocalyptic end of our race so much as a new beginning -- in a profoundly different "post-human" form.

This is why, despite all of THF's efforts, the world remains subject to the "tyranny" of the Numbers. Preventing nuclear war, overpopulation, disease, etc. is pointless because none of those things will be the ultimate cause of our "death." Rather, it will be humanity's rebirth as a new species (i.e., evolution) that signals our extinction (thanks, NeillT).

So what might this post-human existence look like? One possibility I've raised previously is Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen. A scientist, he is reduced by a freak accident (the Incident?) to a state of pure electromagnetic consciousness. Another candidate is the Star Child from 2001. Catch a Falling Star and the Black Rock may both be nods to the Kubrick classic.

But perhaps the simplest analogy -- the one meant for popular consumption -- is to electromagnetic "ghosts" or "spirits." The clues along these lines have been in front of us for some time. Turn of the Screw is a novella about ghostly possession. The Others is a film, inspired partly by Turn of the Screw, about spirits who believe they're still alive.

These references, coupled with the mysterious appearances of the dead in whispers, dreams, and visions all contribute to a strong inference that the Island is haunted. Whether because of natural electromagnetic phenomena, Dharma's technology, ancient science, or some combination thereof, bodies have become optional on Craphole Island.

Some, however, may be more adept than others at separating body from soul. Remember Ms. Klugh's question to Michael whether Walt had ever appeared someplace he wasn't supposed to be? That's likely a reference to astral projection, which is the ability to transfer one's consciousness to an energy double or "twin" of one's material body.

Ms. Klugh also asked Mike if he was Walt's biological father. Some have interpreted this as a clue the two are not, in fact, related (thanks, koralis). This suspicion is bolstered by the fact that the bird Walt atracted to the window in Special was supposedly a Bronze Cuckoo -- a species known to dupe other birds into raising their young (thanks, punky).

Walt could be the result of a hybrid union involving one of the electromagnetic ghosts mentioned previously. Perhaps, in the spirit of Turn of the Screw, Susan was "possessed" by a post-human. This spurred pregnancy by parthenogenesis (thanks, waltisfuture) mutating Walt's DNA. Susan's blood disorder may have been an unfortunate side effect of this mutation process.

The result, however, was a truly special child genetically suited to take the evolutionary leap of shedding his physical form. My guess is that Aaron is similarly the product of such possession, which may explain Thomas's abrupt change of heart (i.e., he began to doubt he was really Aaron's father). This dynamic could also account for Sun's miraculous pregnancy.

It may even mean Emily Locke wasn't lying about John's virgin conception after all...


Lisa said...

Very interesting theory about Walt...I buy it more about him than Aaron and Sun's pregnancy. But at the same time, there is definitely something going on with all the childre.

bigmouth said...

Lisa: Thanks! We'll have to see what happens with the other pregnancies. Something that supports your skepticism is the lack of cancer or blood disorder in Claire or Sun. (I've heard claims that Rose might once have been pregnant herself. Could parthenogenesis explain her cancer?) That said, I think Catch a Falling Star is a big clue about Aaron's true nature. It may even be that Walt is merely a transitional form whereas Aaron represents the true next step in human evolution (i.e., the Star Child). I've even seen suggestions that the four-toed statue is a nod to evolution!