LOST starts again tonight! Can’t wait!
…But we do have to wait a bit, so here’s a short theory to think about before the show tonight.
We saw that the island has the ability to prevent things from happening. Michael’s gun jammed, and he couldn’t kill himself, just as Tom said. It stands to reason that’s not it’s only power. What if it set plans into motion so that Oceanic Air 815 fell out of the sky on purpose?
How would it, or anyone, do such a thing? We’ve seen that Desmond can travel back into his own body and change things in the past. We know that Ms. Hawking (the old woman who wouldn’t sell Desmond the ring) can do the same thing. It seems highly unlikely that they’re the only people that can do that.
Whether it’s the island’s properties that make this possible or it’s amplifying some people’s ability to control magnetism (which is what I believe Walt was doing) to do this, I’m not sure. I do think that Ben knows how this works, and that the Dharma Initiative was close to figuring this out (and might well have, setting Widmore on the path to find out more about the island).
I believe The Others have been doing this for a long time, trying to make things “right”. Just a nudge, here and there when possible.
If the people on the island had this ability, and they were under attack in the future, how could they set things into motion to get help? They’d use their abilities to travel back to their “earlier selves” to find the people they needed to help them. With the right guidance, they could engineer circumstances that caused those people to get on Oceanic 815, and get them onto the island so that when the time came, they could help defend against the attack.
The ability to travel back and influence events is the key for why Widmore (and possibly others) want Ben in the first place. Widmore thinks that control like that would let him rule the world… At least he thinks that. I think the Island has other ideas about that.