LOST - The Island as Boggle dome

Over at The Lost Community, we've been trying to nail down whether the intended effect of the frozen donkey wheel being turned is the same as what's happening on the Island post-turn (the whole record-skipping thing). I think I've come up with a theory that actually brings a little science into the discussion.

Remember Boggle? The little pod with dice with letters, and you shake the pod and the dice scramble, settle into a grid, and you make words?

Turning the frozen donkey wheel is equivalent to shaking the Boggle dome. It results in a noise, and even a reshuffling of the contents of the dome.

But what if some of the dice have been taken out of the dome? Then, when the dome is shaken, the remaining dice reshuffle but their interaction is changed because there aren't the same number of dice to bounce off of. When they settle, the resulting jumble cannot be directly correlated to that which pre-dated the last shake.

It's kind of like a muddle of Brownian motion, quantum mechanics, and a little bit of Schrödinger's cat.

The Island, as a Boggle dome, is trying to find a way to reshuffle the dice to make the grid make sense. It can't, and it keeps on shuffling and shuffling. Only when someone reinserts those remaining dice will the Island stop trying to resolve its error.

The question is, how does the Island determine what the correct number of occupants is? What's the marker? The destruction of the Swan, maybe? Is anyone (or anyone's body) other than the Oceanic 6 off-Island that was on-Island when the Swan went boom? Is Desmond not included in Ben's charge to bring everyone back because the rules don't apply to him? Since the Swan implosion was kind of what triggered his unusual spacetime status, is he not on the Island census as of that point in spacetime?

(This analogy was more fun when I was conflating Boggle and Trouble. I liked the idea of the Island "popping" rather than "shuffling" or "shaking." Oh well.)

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For more of my thoughts on LOST, which are occasionally well-elucidated, click here.