Up@dawn 2.0

Monday, February 23, 2015

Austin's Contribution to "The Philosophy of Inception" Group Project

So, our group is discussing the philosophy of Inception, the film by Christopher Nolan. I will be talking about the different implications that the movie makes in regards to utopias and dystopias. To start off, one could view the world of Inception as a futuristic utopia. This is supported by the prevalence of the dream-sharing technology and by the strong corporate presence throughout the film. This is a world in which large, conglomerate corporations are striving for world domination. These enterprises employ Dom Cobb to perform services that, in his own words, are not “strictly speaking, legal.” Saito even has the power to completely erase Cobb’s criminal record in America, and he is a foreign businessman with no ties to America. The idea that this is a dystopia is further emphasized by Yusuf’s dream basement. This basement is full of people who go there just to sleep, for 40 dream-hours with the help of Yusuf’s sedative. According to his assistant, “the dream has become their reality.” This suggests that the drudgery of modern life has become too dull, that their only means of escape is to flee to their dreams. These dreams are the opposite of waking life; the dream world is representative of utopia. In the dream world, each subject is capable of creating something from nothing; in the words of Ariadne, the dream world is “pure creation.” Limbo, therefore, is the ultimate utopia, since it allows the dreamer unlimited dream space in which to create, and it allows them to create for very long periods of time. However, where it gets interesting is how different people define utopia. When people attempt to define what a utopia is, they usually resort to sweeping generalizations and broad statements. When you get down to details is when people start to disagree, meaning that everyone’s utopia is different. Furthermore, since people can potentially be trapped in Limbo “until our brains turn to scrambled eggs,” Limbo could be seen as an analogy for Heaven. This begs the question, how long would you spend in your utopia/heaven before you grew tired of it? When the Inception learns that they could potentially be trapped in Limbo during the Fischer operation, Ariadne says, “Who would want to be trapped in a dream that long?” And she has a point. After a while, utopias would become simply boring. Compare utopias to a vacation resort. You wake up as late or early as you want, all food is prepared for you, there are no shortages of activities for you to do or not do, your time is yours to spend as you like. Yet, most people do not vacation for more than a week or two. After this time, they yearn to return to real life, even if it means a desk job or school. Ariadne echoes this tendency with her earlier question. She prefers a dull real life to an exciting fake life. This has some rather disturbing implications about Heaven. Would it always be a paradise, or is it possible to become bored of it? Would people opt to leave to return to “real life,” if given the choice? What would you choose?

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