Re: Symbolism of Jack's absence at Claire's birth
Jack and Locke are connected, so different and yet so similar--both driven, both gifted and capable of leading, both "wanting the best" but leading in very different styles and with very different philosophies about how to get to where they want to go.
"Don't tell me what I can't do"--I think that quote is deeply telling. Locke uses this all the time, and he means it: he never bends from his own vision, even when he is wrong (think "Walkabout": Locke would probably have gotten impaled trying to traverse the Australian outback in a wheelchair). In the one instance Jack uses it, in "Do No Harm," it's under intense pressure and, finally accepting that he is the wrong, "letting go," he backs down. Jack realizes he has limitations, that he can't save Boone no matter what. He's not really giving up, he's just facing reality. This is the hallmark of a truly great leader and a truly great man, a person who understands himself and his own nature. In this respect, "Do No Harm" portrayed Jack very well. Locke, on the other hand, as we have seen, doesn't truly understand himself. He has inner fire, but he doesn't yet get it that fire can light but that it can also burn. "Dont tell me what I can't do"--but you really can't do some things, and you have to listen when other people tell you the truth. Jack got it from Sun, and from Boone, and he listened. I don't see Locke doing that.
Jack is the greater of the two. That's what I get from that quote.