Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dream a Little Bigger, Descartes Dares You

   Now, before I begin, I would just like to say that if you haven't seen, Inception, yet, this may spoil the ending, or a few of the key twists throughout this theatrical masterpiece.  However, considering that practically everyone and their Grandmother have seen the movie already, if YOU haven't, then it's about time you figured out what all the hype was about.  As a piece of entertainment, this movie satisfied the whole way through, and kept it's viewers on the edge of their seats.  Going deeper, on an artistic level, it surpassed all expectations, in my opinion, and, in a way, turned out to be more of a follow up to Descartes's, "Meditations," than a movie.  One of the key concepts in this great philosopher's essay was the idea that, even though we may think we are awake, we may really be sleeping, and, when we are dreaming, we are actually awake.  This concept was seen in the movie when, after being tasked with planting a thought inside the dream of another man (Cillian Murphy), Cobb, played by the great Leonardo DiCaprio, visits a friend who shows him a room full of people, sleeping on cheap hospital beds, all connected to a device I will simply refer to as the, dream machine.  When asked about what they were doing, man  replied that they were dreaming, and that, because they "dreamt" so much, their dreams had become their reality.  This statement made me wonder if, in all honesty, we look at reality backwards, and what we perceive to be true, is simply a figment of our imaginations.  What if, every morning, when we get up to go to school or work, we are really dreaming, and none of it is real?  This simple concept rips a whole into everything we know and perceive to be real, and destroys all knowledge and logic in the world.  In "Meditations," Descartes's attempts to use this very concept to dissolve all scientific knowledge, in order to bring himself one step closer to denying and proving everything he believed untrustworthy.  Maybe he was onto something... or maybe he was just off his rocker, but, I'd much rather like to believe that one of Philosophies greatest minds had some amount of sanity to his name.  The film, Inception, took this idea a step farther when Cobb discusses how after coming out of a dream within a dream, within a dream, and the limbo dream state which followed, his wife, Mal, played by Marion Cotillard, didn't believe that they were actually out of the dream, and she was determined to kill herself to get out.  In her insanity, she stumbled upon territory that was reminiscent of the dreamers who believed that their dreams were reality, and their real lives were their dreams.  I feel that, even if she had been right, she would still feel as though the "real" world which she tried so hard to get to, was still a dream.  I would like to call this, the Dream Paradox.  The Dream Paradox is simply a way I like to refer to the idea that, even though we think we may be awake, we really may still be asleep, just simply in another lower level dream.  To conclude, I would like to take a look at the ending of the movie.  The very ending seen is a close up of Mal's top, which she, and now Cobb, use to tell if they are in a dream or in reality.  if the top falls, they are supposed to be awake, but if it keeps spinning, it is supposed to signify that they are still in a dream.  As it is spinning the camera gets closer and closer, until suddenly... a black screen which leads into the credits.  Now, referring back to the dream paradox, it also works for when a person doesn't want to believe that he/she is still asleep and dreaming.  In a dream, anything in and out of reality is fair game, and, i don't see why, if you want to believe that you are in a dream still, the top wouldn't simply topple over because you wanted it to.  By the same token, the whole movie could have been within a dream, and, then, to follow suit, the couple hours i spent watching it could have been within a dream, and the movie could not even exist, for all  we know.  It is in my opinion, that Cobb was still in the dream at the end of the movie, but, hey, it's only my opinion, and it could all simply be a part of my own dream... or is it reality???

1 comment:

  1. I totally thought of Inception when I read Descartes for philosophy; great minds think alike! And your ideas are interesting, but I don't agree with you totally. However, I do think he was in a dream at the end. I read this really good article that says that the whole movie was a dream, and I think it sounds about right. It argues that the movie isn't about whether he is awake or asleep, but the dreams themselves and what dreams represent. Read the article, it's really interesting.