DocArzt and Friends Logo

Lost The Constant – More Physics, or Fodder?

By docarzt,

  Filed under: Easter Eggs, Lost Theories
  Comments: 11


“The Constant” was the most physics saturated episode yet, and not just for the ideas it will stimulate.  Scattered across the various pages of Daniel’s journal, not to mention his chalk boards at Oxford, were dozens of references to actual concepts.  The question is, are there any answers there or is the equivalent of clever set dressing.

Take “The Lorentz Invariant.”   Go ahead an google it.  You’ll find it’s a real concept and deals with time/space.  And “Imaginary Space,”  I chuckled when I heard it but it turns out to be a staple concept of relativity.

So, the equations and terms were real, what was conspicuously absent, however, is any mention of “course correction.”  The problem with putting too much effort into forming any kind of relevant picture from all the high powered name dropping in this episode is that Lost is operating on its own set of rules for time travel.  While all the physics may seem to make the mystery deeper, it may be there for the same reason additional leaves are dropped around in a scene, to further the illusion of legitimacy; to facilitate suspension of disbelief.

Are the physics of Lost clues, or just set dressing?  Sound off below.

  • whattheBLEEPdoweknow

    The key is the idea that Daniel threw out about “consciousness.” No one is traveling through time as matter or corporeal substance; the consciousness is making the leap through time. Or, more accurately, it’s deconstructing the concept of time, which a lot of quantuum physicists are saying today is just a construct of language and doesn’t really exist anyway. Desmond (and the rat, and perhaps Daniel and Minkowski) has experienced a collapse of the time constructs that our brains have created and lived by since the age of language. But, physicists today know that there is only one time, and it’s right now. So Desmond’s consciousness is able to “jump” time because there is no time to begin with. He’s achieved — perhaps through some sort of radiation exposure — a higher state of consciousness than we all have who are “enslaved by time and space.”

  • MonkSatyr

    My take on Daniel’s journal.. it’s a look into Daniel’s attempts to understand and explain to himself what he knew he may experience in the future,through Dez’s visit. He is educated in physics, gifted in physics it seems, and the best way he could try to understand what’s happening would be with what he’s best at. So I think the theorems and equations are more of a thought process, rather than an complete answer to the Island anomaly.

  • Mr.Davis

    The Formulas written in Faraday’s Notebook are mostly standard equations from relativistic physics. There is no reason for a physicist from Oxford to write it down as a note.

    These equations are not references to actual concepts. They are known since almost 100 years.

    I think it’s better just to ignore them – Lost is a fantasy/sci-fi/mystery story.

  • lockefan3805


    From your “enslaved by space and time” reference in your post – wasn’t there a quote from a recent episode that, “Only fools are enslaved by space and time”?….It’s in the back of my head, but I can’t remember where it might have been obscurley referenced in the past 4 episodes.

  • KeepingAwake

    Lockefan–that was one of the things that Flashed in Room 23 at our poor friend Karl.

  • lm2

    Recall that the producers said in the first podcast of this season that they were especially keen to make sure that they were not introducing paradoxes of time travel into the mix. They explicitly mentioned the sort of paradox that arises when one goes back in time and kills one’s grandfather. This would obviously have an effect on one’s existence, and seemingly make it impossible for *you* to go back in time and do the killing, since *you* wouldn’t exist.

    That said, I have no idea what to make of how time travel is supposed to work in LOST. I just think it’s a good idea, when trying to figure it out, to keep the producer’s comment in mind.

  • Jalocke

    The producers seem to be explaining the time paradox by simply saying you can’t change the past. Its not possible. What needs to happen will happen.

    Also no time travel theory has ever really dealt with the movement of the consciousness. So this means you can only time travel to where you have actually been. And if you happened to change things, when you went into the future, those things would then be changed. Consciousness is not matter and so things like the suicide paradox wouldn’t matter. All that time travel really says cant happen, is the time displacement of matter. This would upset the amount of matter that is supposed to exist in the universe and therefore bad things would happen. However, a conscious mind wouldn’t break any law. And it would be totally 100% acceptable for this to happen. I dont think there would be any way of actually getting it to happen but that is the logic gap that any time travel show has to deal with.

  • crumblingporch

    Once Desmond found his constant in the present, was his past consciousness supposed to snap back to normal as well? I had trouble following everything that Faraday was trying to explain because I think the writer’s were forced to squeeze 100-page explanation of this “constant” thing into two minutes of dialogue. If this is true, is Faraday’s screwy memory going to course correct itself now that he’s remembered that Desmond is his constant or is his memory so far gone that he’s only meant to help get Des back on the wagon? I imagine the writers’ll answer this soon.

    As far as time travel paradoxes go, I agree with you 100%, jalocke: consciousness wouldn’t break any laws. I don’t think they’re going to write themselves into any holes because they seem to be relying on the blueprint Vonnegut left with Slaughterhouse Five. I’m wondering if Des’ odd behavior in The Constant is what leads to the court martial or if he’s still got room for another flashback.

    Although I think the writer’s have successfully managed to make Desmond’s leaps consistent with the space-time continuum, I’m having a lot of trouble with the discrepancies between the island and the boat. If it took them that long to get from the island to the boat and the island is moving through time so much faster, then how can they communicate with the boat in real time. I’m not jumping on the FoxNews satphones can’t work bandwagon, I’m all for suspension of disbelief, but it just seems that there wasn’t a whole lot of time between the on island story and Minkowski trying to get a glimpse of the island. Four episodes of island time would be enough for me to believe that his curiosity got the best of him, but not four episodes of “freighter time.” Unfortunately, they killed him off before we could answers. Maybe time only messes up when coming or going, who knows.

  • dharmavan

    As far as paradoxes go, I think the writers have opened 2 with this episode. One- if the rat was going to learn the maze later, and died before it had a chance to learn, then how was it able to run the maze? And also the settings in Daniel’s notebook- where did they come from in the first place? If Future Daniel tells past Desmond so he can tell past Daniel, then past Daniel has them, and he can later save them to become the notes that Future Daniel gives to Desmond. So where did it come from the first time. Chicken and the egg. Welcome to Eggtown. Is that what the title was all about?

  • Lmz27

    The concept of time travelling through consciousness implies that reality exists only in consciousness. In other words, there is no external reality separate from what our thoughts have created. So, if we as human consciousness can let go of the seeming “reality” of time — if we can LOSE time, meaning not be enslaved by it as the structure of our reality — then we’d be able to transcend our bodies and all the limitations that come with it: aging, disease, heartache, even “sin.” None of it would exist because only the present moment exists.

    Thus, time travelling through consciousness seems like it is a first step to breaking the enslavement of time we’ve imposed on ourselves. Maybe this concept is at the heart of LOST.

  • melissa Ivory

    perhaps all this connects to the equation that was brought up in The LOST Experience?