Comparing the characteristics of Jacob vis-à-vis Smokey/Man in Black (MIB) as of “Ab Aeterno”
- First heard in the Pilot episode of the series.
- Refereed to as a “security system” by Danielle Rousseau in Season 1.
- Basic form seems to be a cloud of black “smoke.”
- Does not always kill people it encounters.
- Sometimes seems to “scan” the mind/soul/past (?) of people as indicated by a flashing light, almost like a flash picture being taken.
- Images from a character’s past can sometimes be seen in the black smoke cloud.
- Does not appear to need human food or water to exist.
- Does not meet standard requirements for any basic life form as is presently understood.
- The nature of the “smoke” and what it is made of remain unknown. Many theories postulated.
- The “smoke” has the ability to coalesce and form into the exact image of a three dimensional human being, complete with a solid physical form that can touch, hold and interact with other objects and people.
- When appearing in human form, Smokey/MIB seems to only incorporate a purely external human “shell” so to speak. In other words, no working internal organs or flow of blood. Reference “Sundown” when Sayid stabbed MIB in the form of John Locke (Flocke) and Flocke subsequently removes the bloodless knife himself with no appearent damage. Also unaffected by bullets in “LA X.”
- Seems to have no qualms about killing human beings.
- Is known to have killed the pilot of flight 815 in the Pilot episode of the series. Also killed Mr. Eko and numerous people from the Black Rock and The Temple.
- Lies and manipulates people.
- Wants to leave The Island. Desires to be free.
- Not known to have been seen off of The Island thus far.
- Has existed for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Exact age unknown.
- Unnaamed, as of yet. (Many theories as to why postulated, including the “Jacob and MIB are one and the same. ” Reference “The Lost Podcast with Jay and Jack.” )
- Smokey does not like, and is deterred by sonic fences. Reason for why this is so is unknown. (Reference episode “Left Behind.”)
- Water might also some sort of “repellant” for Smokey.
- Believes human beings destroy, corrupt, and that “it always ends the same.”
- Claims to once have been human (“The Substitute”) and had a crazy mother (“Recon”).
- An ash circle can act as protectant against the smoke monester, but it seems the ash must work in conjunction with either Jacob or the temple master being alive. Mechanism of how ash circle works is not fully explained.
- Uses a seaside cave to write out/scratch-out names of candidates.
- Is a stickler for manners and ettique a la Hannibal the Cannibal.
- Refers to himself as a “who” not a “what” in LA X. This could add credence to the fact that MIB does actually have a name.
- Claims that Jacob took his body and his humanity.
Since “Ab Aeterno” it has been confirmed that MIB cannot travel across water in his smoke form.
- Jacob’s name first invoked in Season 2.
- “The Others” appear to be dedicated followers of Jacob and Jacob’s name can be invoked to justify, calm and manipulate.
- He has a physical human body that, based on all known evidence, cannot change or mutate into any other form or entity.
- He is seen eating and drinking, which are basic needs for normal human beings, which is in contrast to MIB.
- Does not seem to be aging beyond his present age – that of a man somewhere in his 30’s (??)
- Jacob can be killed. He was stabbed to death by Ben Linus and the knife used had blood on it, just as would be expected from a normal human being.
- Jacob’s body is totally reduced to ashes after being kicked into a campfire by MIB. A normal human body CANNOT be reduced to pure ash by a campfire!
- Seems to be skilled at fishing and weaving.
- The weaving appears to be of Egyptian style or influence.
- Jacob can leave the Island and does so in order to influence the lives of various Oceanic Flight 815 survivors.
- Jacob’s touch can confer immortality and Richard Alpert was given immortality this way.
- Jacob’s touch seemed to revive John Locke after Locke was thrown out a window. This suggests “laying on of hands” type healing ability.
- Jacob has a more positive view of humanity than MIB. He believes in “progress” and does not appear to subscribe to an “original sin” view of humanity.
- He intentionally brings people to the island in an attempt to prove the Man in Black’s more cynical viewpoint about humanity wrong.
- Jacob wants people to do the right thing without his having to interfere or show people what is right
- He’s determined to keep MIB confined to The Island.
- On the surface, Jacob seems to have a somewhat unconcerned reaction in regard to all the people who have suffered and died in his attempts to prove MIB wrong.
- Thus far, there is no indication that Jacob has fathered any children or has female companionship. Some theorize that Desmond is Jacob’s son.
- Jacob is not one to give out a lot of information. Richard Alpert served him for roughly 140 years, yet Richard Alpert does not seem to know what the overall “plan” is.
- Jacob DID tell Alpert about the function of the island (essentially to contain the evil of MIB and keep it from the rest of the world)
- Jacob has a lighthouse where it seems he was able to view the lives of his many people, including candidates for his replacement. The lighthouse is in sharp contrast to MIB’s seaside cave.
- While not being omniscient, Jacob does appear to have a certain amount of foresight or “psychic” ability, so to speak.
- Miles was able to “read” Jacob’s ashes to determine Jacob’s last thoughts and feelings before his death.
- Jack, Sun, Jin, Hugo (Hurley), Sawyer and Sayid are the last remaining candidates that Jacob has designated as his potential replacement (Reference TV Guide, March 15 – 21 2010)
I will be the first to admit that I didn’t do well in my Egyptian archeology studies, but there is something about the inside of the foot of the statue where Jacob lives that makes me think early Egyptian civilization and culture.
And why would Jacob be living in the remains of an Egyptian statue and weaving Egyptian tapestries if he was not from, or greatly influenced by, ancient Egyptian culture? Is this to suggest that Jacob has existed since Egyptian times -–four or five thousand years?
Jacob does not look Egyptian. Fair skinned and blue eyed ancient Egyptians are more of a creation of Hollywood than reality.
I’m sorry I don’t remember which podcast or which episode it was, but a person who is knowledgeable about knives pointed out that the knife given to Richard by MIB, for the purpose of killing Jacob, was of Roman style, and pictures Romulus and Remus were supposedly on the knife. I can buy Jacob and MIB being of Roman origin more than Egyptian, but I can’t help but to wonder if these time marker details are nothing more than Lost writers trying to lead us astray.
Whatever Jacob and MIB truly are, and wherever they are truly from, it’s hard to imagine any event that could have happened in either Roman or Egyptian times that would have lead to their creation or roles on The Island. It’s easier for me to think of time as a concept as not applying to them at all. Or of them as existing “outside” of time.
If Jacob and MIB do exist in some sort of linear part of the history of humanity and the world, my inclination would be to say they had both been there from the start . . . . Whatever being from the start means!
While neither Jacob nor MIB seem completely omniscient or omnipotent, they have powers and qualities no human being has. So while certainly cannot be God/s in the Judeo-Christian tradition, their motives and abilities might fit in well with demi god, or even god-like status in many other cultural traditions. Whomever and whatever Jacob and MIB are, they are beyond that of any regular or normal human being.
Proving MIB wrong about his viewpoint of humanity must be very, very, very important for Jacob to devote time and tolerate the loss of so much human life for the sake of this argument. I cannot help but to wonder – if Jacob can prove MIB wrong, or change his mind about the corrupt nature of humanity, then maybe they both get to be freed from the bonds that keep them tied to The Island.