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4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42 – LOST Numbers explained by Valenzetti Equation

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The Valenzetti Equation has an undeniable connection with the mythology of Lost but how does it join root with the show’s main story and the famous number sequence?

One of Lost’s salient features are the series of fascinating mysteries, some of which played out over all six seasons. Alongside the pilot episode’s polar bear and the mysterious smoke monster, Lost‘s most unforgettable enigma is perhaps the “4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42” number sequence that appeared again and again in apparently unrelated places and events. Even I personally use to book my plane seat based on these numbers.

The sequence was broadcast from a radio tower on the island onto the side of the Hatch, used by Desmond Hume as a code to save the world and used by Hurley to win the lottery, later bringing him a seemingly horrible destiny.

Like many of Lost’s mysteries, the true meaning of the numbers always remain in a limelight for open controversies, but the final season reveals they originate from the Jacob, a character with supernatural capabilities. In selecting candidates to take over his role as protector of the island, Jacob used a special lighthouse to watch the outside world. Once the candidates were brought to the island, they were assigned a number that correlated to the degree the lighthouse was set at when doing surveillance on them. The numbers represent the final six candidates including Locke, Hurley, Sawyer, Sayid, Jack and either Sun or Jin.

However, a more rich purpose served by the numbers was revealed by The Lost Experience, an alternate reality experience written by Lost’s writers and producers with the objective of answering queries that the main series didn’t have time to address, for which the lost always been criticized. According to the writing, a mathematician by the name of Enzo Valenzetti began working on a method to predict the end of the world in the 1960s. The resulting equation used the core values 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42.

The DHARMA Initiative was developed with the intention of changing these constants, thus avoiding the apocalyptic event, and area of their research on the island was centered towards this objective, with time travel, genetic mutation and psychology all considered possible ways of altering the Valenzetti Equation. DHARMA broadcast the numbers as a method of information that the formula had not yet changed, and the end of the world was still possible.

Apparently, the Valenzetti Equation feels like a significant component of Lost’s story, as it not only the reason for the existence of the DHARMA Initiative but also provides a more authentic origin of the numbers that help Jacob select his final candidates. Surprisingly, the issue was never actually discussed during the whole Lost series.

The Valenzetti Equation actually fills the void created after the series finale, that left the viewers with so many questions but no answers. Enzo Valenzetti doesn’t reveal exactly how he predicts the world will be gonna end but, in Lost’s final season, Jacob ominously suggests that the Man in Black’s escape from the island will have disastrous consequences for the entire world, although he too was uncertain about the nature of this possible threat.

It would fill the void that the apocalypse Valenzetti predicted was actually the Man in Black’s insurance for his future escape from the island. This would explain why the equation’s core values and Jacob’s candidates possess the same numbers because each of those six individuals was a core value in countering the Man in Black.

DHARMA, on the other hand, mistakenly assumed that the numbers were scientific in nature and required a scientific solution. This theory is supported by the fact that each of the six remaining candidates plays a vital role in Man in Black’s ill-fated downfall.

If true, this theory would plug a fair few of unanswered questions for which the Lost has always known for, even after almost a decade when its last episode was on-aired in 2010.

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