(Updated April 27, 2008)
One of the central stories driving the mythology of Lost is like a chess game between Ben and The Universe (the game being played between Ben and Widmore is of secondary importance). Ben is trying to change destiny. The Universe course-corrects him each time. But Ben is smart and determined to win (at any cost). He and the Universe are trying to out-maneuver each other like opponents in a cosmic course-correcting game of chess. Why? Because Ben loves Annie and will not accept it is just “her path” to die.
Ben’s power comes from the island (see the mirror-matter moon theory). The unique electromagnetic nature of the island allows him to “unstick” himself in time and space. For hundreds if not thousands of years, Widmore was the guardian of this power. But Ben has banished Widmore and harnessed the immense power of the island for himself. He uses this power to maneuver his consciousness through time and stay one step ahead of the Universe's course-correcting actions.
Ben is motivated by love – or, rather, the grief one feels at the loss of love – the fear one has of death. Ben hated life until he met Annie. She was his one bright spot – his true love. They grew up together and promised to be with each other for ever. They even got pregnant and were soon to have a son, but the Universe took Annie away. She died early in her third trimester. Ben is trying to solve the “pregnant women die on the island” problem so his consciousness can take the solution back in time to save her. He believes he can do it, because he’s done it before.
Annie’s Many Deaths
Annie didn’t “only” die in childbirth (just like Charlie didn’t “only” die by being struck by an arrow in his throat). Annie has died many times and Ben has prevented it each time (like Desmond did with Charlie) – and each time the Universe has reacted by killing her a different way – most “recently” by killing Annie her with the pregnancy. That is the move Ben is reacting to now.