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For this post, I think your beliefs are spot-on. I agree with every one of them, no quibbles.

Not to be pedantic, but I think the focus has changed to "corruptibility". Like Diogenes, the Island is searching for one honest man. (or woman, obviously) Can it discover one Human who fully understands the nature of right and wrong, and will always choose to do the right thing?

Regarding the observation surrounding whether we are in "hell": that picture could look a lot different for various individuals. Not everyone would see being stranded on a desert island as "hell" even if they were frequently tormented by other residents, natural events, and smoke-beings messing with their minds. I wonder whether the black smoke has another function? What if it is simply eliminating rats from the Island's maze in order to make the experiment more difficult, or if he could possibly be releasing them from their torture, since they hold no meaning to him. Can you get out of hell just by committing suicide? (Making a mental note in case I am wrong about the existence of hell.)

The Adversary is necessary to the Island's experiment, because only a truly and completely good person is desirable, and there must be temptation to test them. Jacob, as the Island's human form, is necessary to try to guide them, regardless of his methods. (Is Jacob trying to drown Ricardus any different from the Island creating a tsunami? How many people will sit down and talk to an Island, however rational it may be?)

I love the way you write, including the humorous observations. You may, in fact, be "one of the biggest brains" after all.

Til next time...

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