Summary and Info
Inception, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, is the most philosophical, thought-provoking, and disturbing movie since The Matrix. It was the “existential heist film” of the year 2010. The very idea that our dreams and reality are one and the same has caused many sleepless nights and deep vexing conversations around the world. The spontaneous association of the film with philosophical dream theories suggests that Inception is underpinned by deep philosophical urges. What is the nature of the world? Are there dreams within dreams?Inception abounds with flashing insights, many of which have been borrowed from philosophers. For thousands of years dreams represented a way of finding hidden memories, desires, and fears. In Inception and Philosophy, philosophers examine the complicated dream theme from various angles. On a first level, the film seems to be a thrilling illustration of Descartes’ dream argument because people cannot be sure that they are not dreaming. However, while Descartes called into question the reality of experience, he still held that our thoughts are our own. This fact is contested in Inception.On another level, philosophers explore the Inception theme at a time when technology has made shared dreaming possible: computer users regularly jack in and populate worlds created by programming architects. Forty-three percent of “residents” of virtual worlds such as Second Life report that they feel as strongly about their virtual community as they feel about the real world. Are they walking away from the real world just as Cobb could have done and possibly did?Psychoanalysts might see the entire script of Inception as the dream of a neurotic subject. The film also raises questions of cognitive science and neuroscience. Does reasoning occur more quickly below the level of consciousness? Is it neurobiologically and psychologically possible to enter each others’ dreams?Some authors point to the problem of responsibility. In the dream, it doesn’t matter that they are shooting and killing people, as they aren’t people at all, but “just projections.” Is there any ethics in dream-worlds at all? Or perhaps this is a tale from the business world, meaning that the major players in Inception are not the characters but corporations… Other authors reveal the film’s deep religious concerns or elaborate on the Greek myth of Ariadne, the clue giver giving a clue in the form of architecture...
More About the Author
Thorsten Botz-Bornstein (born 1964) is a German philosopher specializing in aesthetics and intercultural philosophy.
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