It’s possible I found the trigger for the events I theorized in an earlier post. On Maureen Ryan of the Chicago Tribune’s blog about the lastest episode of Lost (Richard’s episode Ab Aeterno) she questioned the significance of the butterfly. Truthfully, I do not even recall the butterfly at all and have not gone back to rewatch the episode.
However, in thinking about the question, the first thing that comes to mind is the classic Chaos theory example involving a butterfly. As (probably) shown in The Butterfly Effect movie (which I never saw) and as explained in the book on Chaos theory the point of the butterfly in chaos was to show that a single simple event such a butterfly flapping its wings could have massive and dramatic effects elsewhere in the world.
Moreover, invoking the Chaos theory lead me to a better understanding of Lost. One of the basic tenets of Chaos is that unlike normal scientific studies where things are very predictable and repeatable, Chaos theory shows that seemingly random and highly unpredictable events can be shown to lead to a predictable state. For example, throw a large rock into a small pond. The waves move out to the sides and bounce back in a very complex and unpredictable way but never-the-less the pond slowly settles down to being peaceful.
As applied to Lost it does seem to me that characters and events are very random and very unpredictable but that we are heading to a rather predictable state. Moreover, the butterfly as used in Lost I originally thought had no meaning other than to lazily (as the butterfly effect connection seems obvious to me) invoke the chaos theory. But it could be something else.
Assuming the creators did it for a specific reason and not just because they wanted to show a butterfly, I think the placement of the butterfly could be very significant. I now think they are trying to show that Richard’s landing on the island and the rescue by MIB is the butterfly effect. That this one little event will cause massive and dramatic effects later on. And I think the evidence in the show itself backs this up. Jacob seems to imply or flat out state (I cannot remember) that he had no plans for trying to influence events. But Richard convinces him to try to do so. And thus from this point on Jacob watches and manipulates events to bring about the story we have watched these past few years.
As for my earlier blog post about the trigger event for causing the FS to become reality, I now believe Richard is the event. That it will be shown in the next few episodes that Richard’s choice will change. He won’t convince Jacob to becoming pro-active and thus nothing we saw occurs and thus the FS is now reality as I explained before. How does this “choice” get made? It could be an actual choice by him. He could die on the boat. He could even not leave Canary Island. Something could cause this but who knows what.
Furthermore if Richard is the trigger and not killing Jacob as I speculated before then its Jacob’s choice to become pro-active that is the key to the events and not the existence or non-existince of Jacob and the MIB. In other words, they can still exist in their tug of war until Dharma sinks the island. I still think my original idea about them not being around in 2000’s is more likely but either thing can happen if its Jacob’s choice that causes the FS to become the new reality.