A lesser known theory about LOST was we could call today "Children at Play."
It is based upon fragmentary observations throughout the series about how children were used and perceived in the story lines. Overall, children were not well received or well established. Which was very odd considering one the key mid-point story lines centered around the infertility problem.
After the plane crash, there are only four new children to the island: Emma and Zach in the tail section group and Walt with unborn Aaron with Claire on the main beach camp. Of these four children, only Walt, the eldest, was called "special." He was the only one allowed to voluntarily leave the island.
Juliet was manipulated, coerced, kidnapped and taken to the island because she was a fertility expert. She had miraculously given her cancer patient sister a chance to conceive and give birth. Ben seemed to be obsessed with this problem, even though Alpert would remark to Locke that this was a waste of time and not part of the Others mission.
But one of the shortest and most disturbing scenes from the tail section arc was the adult survivors hiding in fear in the brush when a group of ill-clad, bare foot"Others" walked by who looked like a band of children. This led me to speculate that there actually could be two sets of Others - - - an adult band and a splinter tribe of children. This could be the reason why the adult Others like Ben were obsessed in finding a new source of children.
A band of children roaming the island brings to mind the classic story of The Lord of the Flies. That story has several similar themes to LOST, including power struggles, corruption, greed and the collapse of a loose island society.
But how the adults on the island acted was also very childlike. Locke had the naivety of a small child when he interacted with others in his group. Ben had the petty anger of a school yard bully. The love triangle story between Jack-Kate-Sawyer was very high school soap opera.
By the end of Season 5, we still did not know who were The Others, the original inhabitants of the island. We did not know if they had any real purpose except to kill off strangers on their island. But the Others had two factions: the post-Dharma Ben group who embraced the technology brought to the island, and the Alpert group who lived in nomadic tents in the fields. Again, it appears to be two school clicks.
The question raised is why if children were so important in the mission statement of the Others, why were they treated so badly by the Others. One reason could be that children treat other children badly because of their own immaturity.
Which leads to the premise that despite appearances, the island is made up of children "playing" castaway survivor. The clues are the common behaviors: in-fighting, control, temper, tantrums, and playing games. The original island inhabitants, being children, never wanted any more children to ruin their island. And when they mentally grew into young adults, and their attitude towards their themselves began to change, they were eliminated by rebellious children.
But how can children look like adults? That could be answered by the fact that the island's unique magnetic properties coupled with its time distortions could physically age children into bodies of adults, but their mental intelligence would lag far behind in development.
One could look at it that Dharma represented the parental figures on the island while the Others were the wild, undisciplined children. Such symbolism would be in step with a major theme of the series: the daddy issues that many of the main characters had in their own backgrounds.
The structure of the series had the feel of kids in the backyard. There was a whole past generation of children who played outdoors instead of becoming video TV couch potatoes. Kids used to play with other kids in games like War, combat, capture the flag, baseball, football- - -using both imagination and athletic strength.The island would be a wonderful playground for imaginative children.
It would explain all the inconsistencies in science and story continuity during the series. Children may have no knowledge how the real world or real science works. But their imagination can conjure up anything to "fix" a situation or opponent like the sonic fence, or the creation of the smoke monster. The island would give the children supernatural abilities to act out their own fantasies as adults. It may be why a few children, like Emma and Zach, did not want to play with the others. There are always wallflowers, loners and quiet children in the background of any group.
So how did all these children arrive at the island? If we look to the final season for a clue, we would find that they were probably kidnapped or captured by the island guardian. And what would happen to lost children over time? Children without guidance will have self-doubts about their worth. They would sting with rejection. They would "fight, destroy and corrupt." And this cycle appeared to last for centuries.
The one thing that this theory has that may help explain the sideways church reunion, where the souls reunited after people died long before and long after Jack, was nostalgia. If life is a full circle, the adult in most people find nostalgic memories of their childhood in their advanced old age. Why these good memories surface in elderly patients is not known. But many adults regret that the vast majority of their lives were spent working hard, problem solving, juggling financial and family issues to the point of simple romantic notion of the freedom and carefree times spent as children with their friends. If the main characters were in fact children, in a fantasy world of their own creation, they possibly could reunite in the after life if those innocent times were the best memories of their lives.