Friday, September 08, 2006

The Numbers FINALLY Explained!

You know those pesky numbers that show up on Lost once in a while? Well, after roughly two years of wondering, hypothesizing, and mathemetizing, we finally got the answer. Check out the video below:



For my co-workers without sound on their computers (read: suckers!), you can just read below:

Hanso: “I am Alvar Hanso. If you are watching this film, you already know and have worked with Gerald and Karen Degroot, founders and masterminds of the Dharma Initiative. By now, you also know there are many research goals for our joint venture. What you may not know is why we have assembled the Dharma Initiative, why we have assembled the greatest minds in the world and given them unlimited funds and access. As with all you have already been told, you are bound by your honor and commitment to keep what you are about to hear a secret.”

“In a few weeks, after your induction counseling and survival training, you and your colleagues will be shipped to a top secret facility - the precise location of the facility is known only to myself, the Degroots, and a few high ranking members of my organization. Why all the security? All the secrecy? The answer is simple. The research is intended to do nothing less than save the world as we know it."

“In 1962, only thirteen years ago, the world came to the brink of nuclear war. The United States and the Soviet Union almost fulfilled the promise of Mutual Assured Destruction… a promise they continued to foster through a destructive Cold War. After the Cuban Missile Crisis, both nations decided to find a solution. The result was the Valenzetti Equation.”

“Commissioned under the highest secrecy through the U.N. Security Council, the Equation is the brainchild of the Italian mathematician Enzo Valenzetti. It predicts the exact number of years and months before humanity extinguishes itself - whether through nuclear fire, chemical and biological warfare, conventional warfare, pandemic, overpopulation... its results are chilling, and attention must be paid.

"Valenzetti gave numerical values to the core environmental and human factors in his equation. 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42. Only by mainpulating the environment, by finding scientific solutions to all of our problems, we will be able to change those core factors and give humanity a chance to survive.”

"Although the Equation has been buried by those who commissioned it…"

"Panic. It has always been my belief that we ignore warnings at our own peril, and thus the Dharma Initiative was born. DHARMA is an acronym for Department of Heuristics and Research on Material Applications. It also stands for ‘the one true way’, and through your research, you will help humanity…" "

We have constructed several stations on the Island - underground laboratories with the facilities you will need to do your research with optimal expediency. All of the support you need, including regular medicine and food drops, will be made in perpetuity. A radio transmitter has also been erected on the Island. Broadcasting on a frequency and encryption known only to us. The transmitter will only broadcast the core numerical values of the Valenzetti Equation. When, through your research, you manage to change the numerical value of any one of these factors, when you have created through science the… you will know that the one true way has been found. That is the work to which you have commmitted yourself. Change the core values of the Valenzetti Equation and you will change the course of destiny. The fate of the human race is in your hands."

"Thank you… and Namaste.”

Mittelwerk: “We all know what happened. The Dharma Initiative failed, and in spite of every effort of the Foundation, we are gripped in the tyranny of those six numbers. We have tried to change those values by manipulating the environment in many, many ways. We have done our level best, and yet this inscrutible equation is bringing us back to the numbers."

"So now we have to take radical action, and I just want to tell all of you that I trust you to do what is best. The villages of Fallam and Vitualami have allowed us to test our vaccine on them. They think they are infected with a virus carried by a local Macaques, and they believe we are bringing them the cure. So when you go in, you have to keep up your story – to know it by heart. Don’t waver."

"When the deaths begin, you must comfort everyone with compassion and the bodies of the dead must be brought to this station immediately for full genetic work up. We must make absolute certain we are hitting precise genetic targets we have engineered into the virus. The optimal mortality rate is 30%. Our operatives at the Vick Institute have verified this figure. More or less, people succumb, we have failed. We need not take any more lives than is absolutely necessary... Yes?"

Man in Audience: "Tom, these are people - innocent human beings - and we're just going to..."

Mittelwerk: "If you knew with mathematical certainty that you could end all famine, war, and poverty - what would you do? Exactly. You'd find the best way to get it done. Precisely. Surgicially. Without allowing for any more suffering than is absolutely necessary. Sigh. It is not fair that innocents have to die so that we can perfect this virus, but I promise you, someone is going to help..."

"Is there something reflecting in the back?"

Rachel Blake: "Oh God!"

Mittelwerk: "Somebody grab her. We have an intruder!"

Random People: "Who is it? She's got a camera!"

Rachel Blake: "No! Get off me! Get off! Get off! Stop! Get off me! No!"

Random Voice: "We got her!"



So what did we learn from all that?

The Numbers.

Put simply, the Numbers are simply numerical representations of human and environmental variables. What does that mean in English? 4 could be the human population. 8 could be the pollution level in the oceans. 15 could be the Bird Flu (whatever happened to this alleged "black plague", anyways?). 16 could be the temperature of the Earth's core. 23 could be Michael Jordan. 42 could be the Communist China.

So, when entered into the Valenzetti Equation, the Numbers factor in and give us the date of Armageddon (the end of the world, not the Bruce Willis movie). Therefore...

Dharma.

The whole point of Dharma was to somehow change these values. Using my examples above, Dharma was trying to use "science" to keep the world population in check, eliminate pollution, kill all birds (there are a suspicious few birds on the Island - hmmm...), lower the Earth's core temperature, assassinate Michael Jordan, and overthrow Communist China.

But in reality, let's think about what we know so far about the "experiments" that Dharma was carrying out on the Island:

- The Hanso Life Extension Project
- The Hanso Foundation Electromagnetic Research Initiative
- The Hanso Quest for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence
- The Hanso Mathematical Forecasting Initiative
- The Hanso Cryogenics Development Imperative
- The Hanso Juxtapositional Eugenics Development Institute

Reading those through, it seems like the variables were actually things like how long people could live, the powers of magnetism, the existence of other-worldly life forms, getting Walt Disney back, solving the Pythagorean Equation, and "selective breeding".

Any way you cut it, it's clearer than ever that Dharma was trying to cheat death by building a better human race. One that could withstand whatever is coming that is going to wipe out the human race. So the bad news for you and me is...

Failure.

The Dharma Initiative failed. We are all gonna die. As Mittelwerk over-dramatically puts it, "we are gripped in the tyranny of these six numbers". Dharma wasn't able to build a better mankind, and gave up (or ran out of money, or had their "test subjects" overthrow them, or something like that). Which brings us to present day. Mittelwerk is talking to a group of people, perhaps the last remnants of the Dharma Initiative, briefing them on the "radical action" they're taking - murdering innocent people.

The villages of "Fallam and Vitualami", which I can only imagine are somewhere in Africa or the South Pacific, have been tricked into thinking that they are sick and Hanso offers the only cure. The trick is that they aren't really sick, and the "cure" is probably fatal.

Stop right there. Remember "The remedy is worse than the disease" that we saw scribbled on the Blast Door? Remember all of CFL's crazy ramblings about her crew being down with the sickness? Remember the shots Ethan had to keep pumping into baby Aaron? Sounds like we're on to something!

This could go one of two ways.

1. The "sickness" actually just represents some innate human condition that we all have. Dharma is trying to create a super-race that doesn't have this sickness through their "cure" - the downside is that it will kill 30% of the population. The upside is that 70% will live through the apocalypse.

2. The "sickness" is truly some sort of disease that mankind is about to catch. The "cure" is similar to any vaccine - containing a weakened form of the virus. Again, the bad news is that 30% of people are going to be killed by it.

Either way it's pretty creepy. But at the end of the day, it seems like they are actually doing what is best for mankind.

The question becomes - what does this mean for our Survivors on the Island? Here's my newest whacked out theory:

After Dharma "failed", they realized that this "vaccine" was their only answer. The remaining few Dharmites on the Island (the true believers in the cause?) decided it would be better to isolate themselves from the rest of humanity (aka - the "sickies") and form a new Eden, a lush Island with nice weather, friendly Smokey Monsters ,and perpetual food drops. What's not to like? Led by Hanso himself (who has been missing for a while, remember?) they all inject themselves with the vaccine for good measure and happily build jungle forts and have misadventures with the Harlem Globetrotters. They even find a way to use the Island's unique magnetic properties to cloak the Island and keep any would-be vacationers out. Everyone is happy.

Then people start crashing their party. Sickies. These innocent people represent the enemy and need to be dealt with - thus the killing of CFL's crew (who had "the sickness"). The problem is that there aren't many of these Dharmites left. When Flight 815 landed, they outnumbered the Dharmites, so a quick slaughter was impossible. Flight 815 also offered something the Dharmites have been looking for - Dharma: The New Class, represented by baby Aaron (thus the kidnapping, injections, etc.)

They were probably confident that the Survivors wouldn't last too long on their Island (what with their security system (Smokey) and lack of television or Internet), but the Survivors turned out to be more resilient than they bargained for. But there's still one question...

The Others.

So where do the Others fit into this little story? Are they really the Dharmites? As you know, I always thought that they were an entirely separate entity on the Island - Rebels, if you will. But based on their knowledge of the Island (and its hatches, ferries, buildings, etc.) it sure does seem like they might be Dharmites. We also saw Ethan (who told Claire about "the sickness" and injected Aaron with the "cure") interact with Tom / Zeke / Mr. Beardy, who is clearly in cahoots with HGI and the other Others from the Season 2 Finale.

I'm torn like Natalie Imbruglia. My gut tells me they are Rebels while logic seems to say they are Dharmites. I'll remain undecided at this point.

The good news is that Season 3 is supposedly all about the Others and I have a hunch that we're going to get some answers to these questions sooner rather than later.



So, at the end of the day, what did this whole wild-goose chase for clues and video clips on the Internet give us (besides a Lost-related distraction over the summer)? Well, we learned what Dharma stood for (fun!), we learned what the Numbers are (finally!), and some people got free candy bars (yum-o!). Not too shabby.

The nice thing is, none of these things make any difference to the storyline on the show. Someone who doesn't know what the Numbers represent can still follow along and just know that Dharma is creating some "vaccine" for some "sickness". They don't need to know the details. What Dharma stands for? Who cares! Knowing it doesn't make Kate any hotter or debunk any Nanobot theories.

In a nutshell, The Lost Experience (I talk like it's now over, even though allegedly there's still one more "phase" to come) did exactly what it should - gave the obsessive among us something to geek out about without alienating the average Joe who watches the show.

Well played.

50 comments:

CeCe said...

So Jack and Kate etc were kidnapped because they're strong, and the others need some good genes for their next generation on the island. That's my theory.

Chris Bobb said...

..is it just me, or does the music in that video really creep anyone else out?

Eric T. said...

where did that video come from? is it actually something they fed us over the geeked-out lost sites, or is it something someone made on their mac just to mess with us lost nerds?

Brian said...

The video is legit. It's something they slowly released over the summer through "The Lost Experience" game they've had over the Internet (see some of my previous posts about it for more details).

heliopath said...

I kinda hope that the HE, all powerful all knowing, is actually Irina Derevko magnificantly perched up on a thrown in the Other camp.... for old times sake

heliopath said...

cece
i like your theory. HGI told locke that he was coming for him. whether this was true or just another thing to fuck with his head, im not sure. but it also would make sense that he wasnt taken in the end because of his whole crazy breakdown. sayid also lost his powers.

why was hurley on the list? and why was he let go? i guess maybe he is the weakest, softest one and would be able to tell the others wat happened without cooking up a rebelious plan to kill the others or anything. hmm...

anne said...

I like the Drevko theory... ;)

Chris Bobb said...

GO BUCKS!!! WE BEAT TEXAS!!! ...sorry, I had to put that in there.

apskrap said...

This adds so much missing pieces to my Lost-universe it's almost silly. Thank's for summarizing The Lost Experience for us who haven't had the energy to follow it! (And as everybody else I can't wait to see season 3... really can't.)

Eric said...

I don't think the virus is any sort of vaccine or anything. Hanso specifically mentions overpopulation so my guess is they are trying to kill off 30% of the population in order to bring world population down to a sustainable level.

If Mittelwerk was trying to do something positive like vaccinate the world against a coming epidemic the whole Lost Experience would be based on the incorrect assumption that the Hanso Foundation is now bad.

Unless there's going to be some big twist and Rachel turns out to be a fraud I don't see any way the Hanso Foundation can be doing anything good.

Ang said...

All I have to say is great job Brian and keep up your theories. I love it!
Ang

Anonymous said...

42, accoring to Hitchikers Guide is the ANSWER to the question of the meaning of life, the universe and everything.

Brian said...

Eric - if it was as simple as killing off some people, why would they need to be hitting "precise genetic targets" and need to have the bodies "brought back immediately for examination"?

As far as Hanso goes, I think they truly think they are "doing good" - preserving the human race - even though they are doing it by less than respectable means. But as he mentions, it's pretty much their last ditch effort. They've tried everything else and failed.

Anonymous said...

Santa Madre de Dios! Oh man, this is so much info that I can handle right know. I guess Ill have to watch that video a couple of times before I give my opinion about it. Thanks a lot for the info Brian, you rock dude.

A.J, Costa Rica

phishpac said...

as always, THANK YOU. I love your work

Joe said...

Wow...Prison Break was pretty awesome tonight. I, of course, thought the whole time that the kid was going to get busted....then BAM..it's Abruzzi. Second best drama on television.

And about those pesky numbers....just another example of why you can never trust what the producers say. Last season they went on and on about how they can "never fully explain the numbers"....yeah, right.

Brian said...

Joe - but in a way, they didn't really explain what the Numbers are - they're just variables.

We don't know what they represent, which might be what they meant by "explaining what the Numbers are" (I know this is a cheap technicality, but whatever - I easily forgive those I like, such as makers of good TV like Lost).

Joe said...

You're right...I guess what I meant was that I thought the producers were trying to say that the numbers were just completely random occurences...that there was no explanation for them at all...

Heather's Brain said...

Brian,
Did you see what happened to Heather and Jon...AGAIN!?!? I am so sad for them, but I know they will be successful in what they do and come out of this one.

Sorry, not specifically LOST related...but it is like we are all cyber family...well sort of!
Heather

Brian said...

Wow, that is really sad that our Lost-stunt-doubling friend had two cars stolen over the course of three months!

Anyone have a extra car they want to send her way?

Or... I know, we can send her the money I get (assuming I ever actually get money) from having the ads on the top of the Blog!

Anonymous said...

I would think that the vaccine eliminates genetic deficiencies in humans, like carriers of down syndrome. In that sense it would be very WWII, trying to breed the perfect race, but thru medicine. Then despite the outcome - preserving humanity- the Hanso Foundation is still evil.

Anonymous said...

I still don't understand how the numbers won the lottery and caused all that bad luck.

I played them in the lottery several times... NOTHING!

Anonymous said...

So... the OTHERS think they're doing good...
Does this mean that these are the people delivering the vaccine? Instead of rebel Dharmites.. could they BE these Dharmites? Maybe they aren't the good guys? They just think they're saving the world...

This would explain why killing is justified.. as long as the end goal is accomplished, some life is expendable.

But what about walt and his powers? What about the Whispers in the woods.. and hidden in the audio tracks(during the questioning of HGI for example)
What about Smokey...

This tells us about DHARMA and HANSU...

And I'm still not convinced that Walts and his mother/step daat aren't tied to Hanso in some way.. I still think it's possible that her sudden and unexpected death may have been related to this project. She DID move the europe... Also, the Dog did belong to Walts step dad... if he worked for Hanso, who experiment with Yellow Labs... Walt has powers, but they let walt go? On THIS plane? And give the Dog? Who is a big peculiar at times. Makes a lot more sense that the Clone theories.

An other said...

ONLY THREE WEEKS TO GO!! are you all as excited as i am.. maybe hurley will rescue jack kate and saywer by eating the others, what do you think brian?

Anonymous said...

to brian:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqhIT048MhU

Anonymous said...

If anyone's curious, the episode description for "Tale of Two Cities" was just made available:

On the third-season opener, Jack, Kate and Sawyer begin to discover what they are up against as prisoners of the Others. Christian Shephard: John Terry. Sarah: Julie Bowen. Mr. Friendly: M.C. Gainey. Ethan: William Mapother. Goodwin: Brett Cullen. karl: William Bashoff. Amelia: Julie Adams. Adam: Stephen Semel.

Brian said...

Well, looks like it's time to start on the first episode preview of the year...

PS - also watched the Bonus Disc from the Season 2 DVDs. Has anyone else watched that? They show Walt, Michael, and VINCENT leaving on the boat. Jigga what?!

Hobbes said...

Well if the 4 8 15 16 23 42 vaccine is the same as the vaccine they gave to the villages of Fallam and Vitualami, then I would suspect Charlie is so screwed ;)Bye-Bye Charlie! However I suspect that little Aaron is now vaccinated against the virus since he had his little breaking fever/sickness thingy way back when they found the caduceus/medical hatch looking for the serum to save Aaron.



Now that we at least know the essence of what the numbers mean or rather what they represent. We can again then, take into consideration Eko's prophetic words not to mistake coincidence for fate. Does that however end the debate on all the number theories.



Within the scope of the story of course, if it is possible to change the variables of the Valenzetti Equation for this grand purpose to save humanity for a utopian world. Then perhaps the equation can be tweeked further... still to save mankind but not quite so utopian.

Mittlework seems like the typical corporate bad guy to me and in typical bad guy fashion, has hidden agenda behind the save humanity banner.
Are his plans to change the variables for his own ends? Yep most likely!
Perhaps the Others (and I hate to finally submit to the Rebel factor) are indeed ex-Dharmites who found out about Mittleworks' dark plans (or secrets to the equation maybe?). But are they there to fight (rebel) against Mittlework and The Hanso Foundation or support them?

So? Am I way out to lunch?
And one more thing...
Oh Poor! Poor Charlie! He's probably going to be in so much pain he'll regret tossing the heroin.

Heather's Brain said...

I have two comments to make...
ONE...this is just a funny story only LOST fans will appreciate.
We went out to eat for my birthday last Monday and we ate Chinese food. We always read our fortunes outloud. It was my eight year old son's turn and he read his fortune. That was nice and so he read his lucky numbers...I KID YOU NOT...straight faced and all...he begins 4, 8, 15, 16...my eldest son so shocked and dumb founded exclaims...NO WAY! We all laughed so hard when we realized how CLEVER he is!

Two...check out the spoiler on this Hawaiian Exclusive inside look. DON'T GO IF YOU DON'T WANT TO SEE!
http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=hawaii

Mitchell's Brain said...

hello brian my name is mitchell
and my mom is heathers brain,
i am the 14 yr. old she talks about in her posts

anyways

i will post comments on your blog all the time...

till next time

mitchell

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcjHpcuEe6w&NR

Heres something i found on youtube....its the end of Season 2 with the portuguese/brazilian lads in the antartic....................then the end is of Sarah Whidmore making her way onto the Island!!!!!!

Trixie said...

Oh yay.... we're all back in the saddle. I have to say I haven't followed the Lost Experience over the summer, but absolutely appreciate the overview!

I'm soooo excited. And may I just say thank God for TiVO? I'm overwhelmed this week!

Great job Brian... this site is always a great work time killer.. errr I mean, at HOME read.

Brian said...

This video is totally fake: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcjHpcuEe6w&NR - don't be tricked by Internet foolery!

Smart money on the Season 3 Opening Scene? The opening of an eye, just like Season 1 and 2.

Live from Charlottesville!

jenn said...

all of this is well put, Brian! Thanks for getting America and the world fired up for Season 3!!!

heliopath said...

that final rachel video was highly unclimactic
im kinda pissed actually, it was built up to be a lot cooler...

anyways
lost in 10 days WOOOOOOOO

im also glad that abc are putting them online as well to re-watch without ads

RIP Posts said...

wow....i'm blown away

i wasn't planning on seeing any video's today, but man am i glad i stopped by

this break has been so long i almost lost interest in lost

xoxo

Anonymous said...

Got this today. Air Date: 10/11

"Further Instructions"

The fates of Locke, Eko and Desmond are revealed after the implosion of the hatch, and Hurley returns to the beach camp and tells what happened when he, Jack, Kate and Sawyer encountered the Others. Meanwhile, Claire is shocked to find Nikki and Paulo (Kiele Sanchez, Rodrigo Santoro) in Jack's tent. Boone: Ian Somerhalder. Eddie: Justin Chatwin. Mike: Chris Mulkey. Jan: Virginia Morris. Sheriff: Joel Himelhoch. Kim: Dion Donahue.




I wasn't too shocked to see Goodwin and Ethan in the credits for "Two Cities," but Boone? Strange.

Pat said...

when is the preview coming? i am getting pumped.

Hobbes said...

WOW! they had a great seasons 1&2 recap/remix. Followed with a teaser for next week. All I can say, next week is going to be so worth it!

Heather's Brain said...

This place is gonna be lit with FIRE TYPING next week. I am so JACKED and ready for more!!!

What a decline in excitement (anticlimactic for sure)with the ARG but I must say it sure made the summer go by a little faster.

Can't wait to be checking in more regularly Brian...you have your work cut out for you this year...MANY WATCHING AND READING!!!
;)

Hobnail_Boot said...

Brian-

Episode 303 will be called 'A Tale of Two Cities', obviously a reference to the Other's camp and the survivors' camp.

When can we expect your title analysis? Looking forward to it.

Brian said...

Worry not, loyal viewers.

After spending the past week in Virginia and West Virginia (away from my computer and the "Internet"), I'm back in the Nati for 48 hours before heading off to Wyoming and Tennessee next week.

Why do you care about my hectic schedule? Because it's crunch time, and the Lost preview has to be completed tomorrow.

I'd expect it up before tomorrow evening. An early edition!

Anonymous said...

I guess this gives the full background of what Dharma was doing while still leaving the question open as to where the others fit into all this. And like you said, none of it vitally important to the week-to-week happenings of the show.

But I think rather than being "rebel Dharmites" the others were never really a part of that organization, but were either test subjects left there after operations ceased, or people who wanted to use the facilities on the island for their own work.

Maybe fake Henry is tell some truth about having a wife that died of a sickness, and that is why he does work on the island. But it still leaves a lot of question marks. The Swan was a psychological test station until "the incident" (notice two-arm Mark Wickman vs. one-arm Marvin Candle) and then it became an actual safety precaution to keep the magnet from going off. We now know for a fact that desmond failing to get back to the hatch in time is what caused the plane to crash. So Fake Henry wanting Locke to believe that the bottom shouldn't be pushed means he wanted the countdown to hit zero again so another "white light delight" would occur. So why bother having anybody in the hatch (Kelvin) to push the button in the first place?

Anonymous said...

There's a book series by James Patterson, Maximum Ride, that seems very Lost related. It's an very easy read, like for teens or something, but as soon as I started reading it I realised that there are alot of similarities. You have to read it to understand.

Anonymous said...

what is the name of the watchmen comic book issue that supposedly took place on a lost-esque island? I've heard it might be a strong inspiration for the show but don't recall the name of the issue.

Anonymous said...

Ok so I have one question. Who the heck is Rachel??? Maybe I missed an episode or something, but I am not following that little bit.

One other thing why is it that the CFL was never caught by the other or the sickness aswell??

Anonymous said...

I agree w/ Eric's post (9:35AM). If the world is going to end, most likely from overpopulation, then they are prob. trying to kill of 30% of the population w/ the "cure" for the "sickness."
I would be extremely surprised if the Hanso Foundation was actually doing something good. And how do the "Others" fit into all this? My guess is they may be the remaining Dharma people, or victims of them.

Oogly24 said...

SAD SADSAD SAD SAD GUYS ITS A GREAT SHOW NO DOUBTING THAT BUT GET A LIFE!!!!

Oogly said...

please

Dan Notz said...

LOL

Wrongggg.