I didn’t have high hopes for the movie Inception but I wanted to see it anyway for its take on shared dreaming, levels of dreaming, dream mazes and other nifty concepts. Taken further these bits of dream gnarl could have made quite a film. As it was, they floundered. I had no problem with the acting in the movie, but the action sequences in it were overblown and nearly pointless.
The central premise of the film was that of Extraction and Inception. Corporate espionage has moved to the dream world, and skilled groups of dreamers are employed to illicitly enter other peoples dreams to steal their secrets. The idea of placing a thought inside a dreamer -Inception- hadn’t been done very much before (in the world of the film) and some in the group thought it impossible. This would be done to give a person an idea that they would then take up and act on in waking life. This was played out in the movie as a way to control and modify the behavior of an heir to a corporate fortune.
The two main problems I have with this movie are that it glorifies several the practice of psychic intrusion, soul theft and the placing of intrusive energies or “thoughts” inside the mind of another sovereign being. While it may seem like I am stretching a bit to reach these conclusions, they are really not far from the mark, and I believe they need to be addressed.
Soul loss is the major epidemic facing humans on this planet. It is comparable to the psychological concept of dissociation, and can be caused by many things: loss of a loved one, break up of a relationship, injury and physical trauma, and substance abuse to name a few. Soul loss could also occur when other people habitually misappropriate another persons power. This is what the concept of “Extraction” from the movie caused me to think of: the stealing of someone elses vital energy and secrets.
A preventive measure we can all take against psychic intrusion is the establishment of healthy boundaries. How is this done? There is plenty of literature on this subject, but learning “where you end and another begins” is an essential first step. Modifying someone elses behavior through psychic intrusion to me is totally unacceptable. If you have a viewpoint you’d like others to share, I think it is best to engage in a rational discussion, or seduce via the power of art.
If someone has a foreign object in their (energy) body, a shaman or skilled dreamer can be called in to “extract” that object. This would happen in a proper setting where mutual trust is a rule.
Overall the movie was a disappointment. Instead of affirming the transformative potential dreams can have in our lives, instead of exploring the possible uses of shared dreaming for true adventure, they were used for purely selfish means. Ancient methods of dream travel were hijacked by CEOs in a race towards the bottom line.
Another aspect of the movie I disliked was its reductionist bent. Everyone in the dream sequences of the movies was a “projection” of the dreamers unconscious. While I understand projections from Jungian point of view, I also realize that some of the beings and people we encounter in dreams have an objective reality all their own. In this case, the way they treated the main characters deceased wife (as merely a projection) was a letdown. In my own experience I have had objective contact with the spirits of loved ones who have passed on in my dreams. This has been a source of healing for me as I’ve moved through the grieving process, as well as a source of timely information, and validation of the afterlife.
Hollywood could do so much better, but they seem to be struck with an unfavorable malady: poverty of imagination.