I have read a few interesting blog essays, trying to analyse the plot-so-far and to understand the rationale used by the Lost writers. I agree that it will be disappointing if it turns out to be they are all already dead, all things present, past and future in one, which explains the flashbacks of all the backstories. Equally lame if all the flashbacks are not real (unless they all have schizophrenia), or being manipulated by the Island to have fake memories of what happened.
HERE'S MY PREDICTION OF THE REASON WHY WEIRD THINGS ARE HAPPENING:
The writers have already revealed a very obvious clue: THE ISLAND GRANTS PEOPLE ON THE ISLAND, THE POWER OF "MIND OVER MATTER". Remember how Walt in Season 1 sees a polar bear in a comic book before the bear makes its appearance on the island?Remember how wheelchair bound Locke stood up and walk again on the island? Even outside the island people do occasionally stand up and walk again, for no clear medical reason, after being confined to a wheel chair. You might be thinking right now, "Ya right, we already know this. In fact any fool who saw that episode would know." Yes of course you know this but you may not have suspected the EXTENT each clue is being used in future episodes. How subtlely it is done.
This is one of the important clues that explains some of the weird things that have been going on. I'm not suggesting EVERY event is related to this clue, or the story evolves around this clue. This clue, that if YOU BELIEVE STRONGLY ENOUGH THAT SOMETHING IS TRUE, IF YOU BELEIVE IN YOUR IMAGINATION/DREAM/FANTASY/FAITH THAT NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE, THE ISLAND WILL MAKE YOUR BELIEF POSSIBLE Here are the events I think are related:
1. Locke believes that after going through a plane crash trauma, it is possible that he could be cured of his handicap. His character is one who believes in fate, that everything happens for a reason. The island made it happen.
2. Walt is a comic fan, and some kids REALLY BELIEVE that maybe they can be Superman. That's one reason why some boys worldwide get into hospitals with broken arm. He believed that maybe the polar bear he read exists in the island. The Island created the bear. And damn Walt, maybe he read his comic about the fatal black smoke as well.
3. Jack is grieving his father. He thought he should have died after the plane crash. He imagined wanting so much to talk to his father, if his father was AROUND, what last words would he have for his father. The island made sure he gets a chance.
4. Hurley's subconscious tells him that he he might see the no. on the hatch same as the no. on his lottery ticket. Remember him having a lot of bad luck after a good luck and a fortune. Hurley is a superstituous man. The island made his lottery ticket no. appear again because he has never stopped thinking about the number and the fortune he might never get a chance to spend.
5. Pregnant woman die on the island. this could be imagined up by one of the Others. He/she comes becomes a resident on the island, thinks that it could be a weird place that woman cannot conceive. And it just happens
6. Ben, the Others' leader. He really believed that people on the island does not get cancer. Juliet arrived and he had great hope that woman will conceive and not die on the island. Before Claire came, Juliet couldn't make a difference. He started to doubt. The island made his doubts and fears come true, what if people do get cancer on the island? He is the first one to get it.
Can you think of others?