Inception - A Dream

Dreaming will never be the same again.

Courtesy - Inception.

This movie - directed by Christopher Nolan - is the talk of the town these days. And it promises to be over the next many months.

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio among others, this movie promises to be a strong contender for next year's movie awards.

Not in recent times has there been a movie so intriguing. It has left the people thinking, guessing, imagining!!
Discussions on this movie is the hottest topic in the office food courts and the online community.

Reviews have failed to tell the storyline. This makes watching the movie imperative. You don't have a chance to understand the story, decide whether you like or dislike it, and then watch it.
A thin line between reality and imagination has sparked a raging debate. Everyone is giving their own version of what the movie meant to them.

This in itself highlights a basic human quality - Diversity of Thoughts. Show a group of people a particular thing - and you will be assured of as many interpretations of the topic as the number of people.
What was special about the movie?
Each one of us must have dreamt at least once in a life time. Actually, that is an understatement. If science is to be believed, all of us spend at least two hours a day dreaming. While we remember some, we don't recollect the most.
Why do all of us like Dreams?
Well - A few reasons. It takes us away from reality.We need not be our real selves. It makes us see the world in the wonderful way we would like to see it.
Carl Sandburg summarized it neatly - Nothing happens unless first we dream.

What's the movie all about?
It's a movie about dreaming. About a journey in a dream.  Or in reality. A journey that goes forever.

In the movie, the reference is to two fundamental concepts - Extraction and Inception. Both these thoughts form the base theme of the movie.
If you are familiar with Harry Potter, then you must have heard about the terms Legilimency and Occlumency.

Legilimency is the act of magically navigating through the many layers of a person's mind and correctly interpreting one's findings. A person who practices this art is known as a Legilimens. In simple terms, it is mind reading.
Occlumency is the act of magically closing one's mind against Legilimency. It can prevent a Legilimens from accessing one's thoughts and feelings, or influencing them.
These two detailed conversations in the books highlight this concept elaborately.

Conversation 1
Severus Snape: "It appears there is a connection between the Dark Lord's mind and your own. Whether or not he is aware of this connection is for the moment unclear. Pray he remains ignorant."

Harry Potter: "You mean if he knows about it, then he'll be able to read my mind?"

Severus Snape: "Read it, control it, unhinge it. In the past it was often the Dark Lord's pleasure to invade the minds of his victims, creating visions designed to torture them into madness. Only after extracting the last exquisite ounce of agony, only when he had them literally begging for death would he finally...kill them."
— Severus Snape explains Voldemort's abilities as a Legilimens to Harry Potter

Conversation 2
"The mind is not a book, to be opened at will and examined at leisure. Thoughts are not etched on the inside of skulls, to be perused by any invader. The mind is a complex and many-layered thing... It is true, however, that those who have mastered Legilimency are able, under certain conditions, to delve into the minds of their victims and to interpret their findings correctly."

—Severus Snape on Legilimency

Well, if you think that you will never pull off these things - Extraction and Inception - then you are wrong. You must have managed it sometimes.
Sometimes, you want to know what's going through the mind of some person.

How do you go about it?
You ask a few subtle questions. You engage him or her. Pursue the question a bit more. Soften up the person.

Mostly, in the end you get what you want. You get the answer. That is "Extraction".

You must have done it right? At least once?
What is Inception?

Once in a while, you must have wanted someone to do something. Maybe for yourself or maybe for someone else.

Like this guy who helped a girl realize how her boyfriend was a good marriage material.

Or having deep discussions with your girl, painting a rosy picture of the future,  making her realize how good a couple you both would make.

This is nothing but planting an idea for your benefit. A benefit which will secure a bright future. This is Inception!!

Done it right? I assure you - the answer will not be "No".

Dreams within dreams. A maze of dreams. Never ending dreams. These are the perpetual features of this movie.

You might have experienced this sometimes. Even if I turn my memory upside  down, I can't recollect a dream within a dream.

But I have felt something similar to it. 

There have been dreams or conscious thoughts thinking about some ideas, some sentiments, some emotions. Then, most frequently, these thoughts lead to other better thoughts, views, feelings. You go with the flow.

If the sleep is peaceful, if you are undisturbed - these thoughts seem to go on for ages. And when you finally wake up, you realize that you have been sleeping just for some 30 minutes. But it looks like you have covered a few hours, days, months, years altogether. Maybe eternity.

This is dreaming at its best. I would call it a compounded dream. The movie refers it to as a Layers of Dream.

The name does not matter. What matters is the experience that goes with it. If you remember your dream, I bet it would be something that you would cherish for the times to come.

And if we are discussing dreams, then we also need to discuss about the things which cause a dream to end.

You must have seen countless movies - where the hero dreams about his girl. He is engaged in her thoughts - so deeply, so profoundly, so intimately - that a small disturbance knocks him out of his pleasant thoughts. And that's the end of the dream.

Think about the time when you must have been caught napping in the class. Dreaming about the pretty girl in the next seat or the next row. Dreaming about a first rank in the class. Or a good placement in the interviews. Or an admission in a top ranking university.

Until the professor's book or his white chalk crash lands on your head - collapsing you sweet dream. Bringing you back to reality.

That's the "Kick". It brings you back to your senses, to the real world.

Being there, done that right? I reckon you would.

But if you are dreaming alone, like you do in the night, what would be your "Kick"?

It could be your parents who woke you up every morning in your humble formative years. Or your companion sleeping next to you.

Or as in my case, my cell phone which doubles up as an Alarm :-).

And finally, in real life, sometimes you feel yourself so lucky, that the things which are happening to you seem like a dream.

And definitely you must have been in a dream where you just want to know whether the things which are happening are for real.

The things that are happening in your dream seem so wonderful, so marvelous, so terrific that you don't want it to end. 

But the feeling is all the more exhilarating when you get an assurance that the dream is real. The comfort that you get in the surety that the dream is real makes you cherish it. 

But then, how do we determine whether the dream is real or false.

The movie uses a Totem for this purpose. It helps the characters to realize that they are in a dream and not in real life.

But unlike the movie characters, we humans don't need a Totem that assures us that a dream is a dream. 

We need a Totem which tells us that the dream is a reality. 

That is the need of the human mind. That is our belief.

So guys, go get your totem.

Keep Dreaming!! Travel the world of fantasy with it. Where else would you get an opportunity to experience a multitude of a life time in eight hours of sleep!!

Oops... The alarm is ringing. Time to wake up. Looking forward to meeting you again in my dreams again.
Inception - A Dream Inception - A Dream Reviewed by Vyankatesh on Monday, July 26, 2010 Rating: 5

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