An exquisite work of science fiction is – almost Believable, right ? For science fiction to appeal to people, it needs to be constructed based on an underlying human element. Uber advanced machines in battle for the entire movie, while it may appear to be an irresistible theatrical spectacle, the most exciting of science fiction and science based super hero tales are predicated on human emotions, behavior and most importantly – human frailties and the dark, invisible corners of the human mind.
Cobb, in his quest to purchase his way back into the United States, undertakes what we assume will potentially be his final, most dangerous and ofcourse – the most elegant expedition into the Dream World. Calling ‘Inception’, a tale about corporate espionage is analogous to calling Leonardo da Vinci, ‘An Architect’. He is, but the complete essence of his being expands infinitely beyond the same.
Cobb left his home in a last minute attempt to avoid incarceration, as he was falsely accused of murdering the love of his life, his wife Mal. Is she alive ? My responses would be more towards No, than Yes. We all dream, right ? What has been your most irresistible dream ? Mine has been – I dont know, I dont really remember. All I know is I’ve had a number of amazing dreams, but never could recall them.
Creating a dream based on real images is dangerous, because when you are in the dream it all feels real, when in fact it is not. If we both can share a dream then it is distinctly possible for both of us to exist in the same dream, right ? Except, if we both are in your dream, then the projections of your subconscience will feel threatened by me. Your subconscience have neither seen me, not interacted with me until now – its natural they feel threatened. You cannot ask your subconscience to not attack me as well, right ? Remember, they are your subconscience – you cannot control them.
Dreams aren’t about logical infallibility, they are essentially interesting by virtue of the fact that they do not obey laws and conform to theoretical rules of physics in our real world. They also originate out of an emotional impulse, rather than a logical one. It is indeed the distinct lack of logic that separates dreams from reality. Dreams, do they express how normative architecture must be far away into the future ? Architects love paradoxical formations, such as the illusion of the never ending, but non-utilitarian Penrose Steps – The Infinite Staircase. As Cobb practises his craft in navigating into the convoluted, intricate, nonsensical and dark minds of people – in an attempt to sow the seeds of self doubt, he runs into people who actually have an applicability for his skill set.
He meticulously assembles experts, who help him create, hyptonize, infiltrate, and escape the dream. As Ariadne calls it, it is Pure Creation. In this world encompassed with mundane tasks and painstaking responsibilities, pure creation is innately inspiring, as is creativity, elegance and imagination. As they nonchalantly travel between reality and the mystical dream world, an elegant way to keep track of reality is the miniature sculpture you carve out for yourself. In the dream – the sculpture, the totem never stops spinning (Cobb uses a top as his totem).
Your mind works infinitely faster when you are in a dream. It projects and creates with no lag time in between, it is similar to dextrously bending two ends of a rectangle towards the point where they – almost touch each other without breaking. In a dream you are completely relaxed, and your mind has the space and time to work over-time without you ever knowing it. Dreams are a power uncontrollable medium to create ideas.
The most elegant solutions to complex problems always originate from simplicity. Remember, before space pens that work in zero gravity were invented, America invested millions of dollars to invent such a pen, and in the mean time Russians simply used a pencil. Simple, yet elegant solution for the problem. It is true in life, as it is with science fiction. Planting a thought in someone’s mind is a complex process, but the thought almost always, is a very simple one. If effective, the cancerous growth of the simple thought will metastasize itself into an all encompassing one, to its own destruction.
Cobb knew such a thought can be planted deep inside a person’s mind, by getting into their subconscious mind, and conversing with them by sharing a dream with them. He is trying to plant such a thought in Robert Fischer’s mind (heir apparent for a billionaire energy tycoon), in an attempt to get to destroy his own corporation after his father’s demise. Peter Browning, the most senior manager of the corporation is also in line to take over, if the opportunity presents itself. Hired by Fisher’s leading global competitor (Saito), Cobb knows if he finishes this job on route from Sydney to Los Angeles, he will win his freedom back to see his children – James and Phillipa. Saito has powerful friends, and he will erase records about Cobb’s troubled, unfortunate past. But how does Cobb know that planting such a lethal falsified thought, into someone’s subconscience, is even possible ?
Because he did it first, to the love of his life – Mal. Cobb suspected they were in a dream world. He wanted to escape the dream in which both of them were living for half a century, and he wanted to go back to his children in reality. As Mal continued to believe that her world was the real one, Cobb ingeniously sows the seed of doubt in her mind. The seed continuously whispers that their world – is indeed a creation of her imagination. Mal eventually commits suicide – as the one person she trusts most in her life betrayed her. Cobb cannot keep her out of his own subconscience – and when he shares his dreams with his team in a world created by Ariadne, Mal wreaks havoc each time. Believable, barely. Creative – but infinitely.
As the layers become deeper, the dream lasts longer. A dream, if its lasts for one minute, with sedation the time for the dream within can be compounded, and you can escape it with a kick. Its true isn’t it ? As we dream, a kick that can make you feel as if you are falling now – will wake you up. The theater projects science fiction, but hinges on human frailties to explain the work of imagination.
Impressions drive behavior, and suspicions feed off themselves. As they all share a dream on the flight, the three layered (dream within a dream, within a dream) creation ensues. Fischer is made to be suspicious of Browning in the first layer – by the team, when Browning says he does not want the corporation to be dissolved. The team gains Fisher’s trust in layer two – as Fischer’s own impressions (subconscience) feeds off itself in layer two. The seeds of doubt combined with trust – eventually leads to Fischer finding the secret in the snow mountain terrain of layer three. Fischer thought there would be secrets, and that drove him to – finding them in layer three. Since we suspected someone of being dishonest, we created a image of himself. Then we find evidence to support our suspicion, and in an all encompassing act of retribution – we do exactly the opposite of what he wanted to happen, when in fact what he said wanted to happen – was indeed a projection of himself by our own subconscious mind. ‘Inception’ of the idea succeeds as Fischer dissolves his inheritance.
As Cobb returns home to see James and Phillipa, one cannot help wonder how such an elegant tale was predicated on science fiction, but was fueled by the fundamental pristine human emotions of love, greed, trust, betrayal, suspicion, and retribution. We leave Cobb’s home with an inexplicable few seconds of the totem spinning in its merry own way, leaving us to wonder excruciatingly, if we were stuck inside the last two and a half hours in Cobb’s dream?
Is the Dream really Collapsing ?