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Inception: The power of Dreams in Controlling Reality?

The movie Inception, released in 2010, is a wonderful amalgamation of a smart, powerful plot, excellent acting, and the high action scenes current film goers crave. The premise resided on the use of dreams to manufacture thoughts into the minds of powerful CEO’s, as well as a means of stealing money and important documents from these said named individuals. The influence of dreams has always been a point of interest in film and literature.
As for Inception, it truly took these questions to a whole new level by adamantly stating, or answering the question whether dreams can affect reality. There are numerous psychological explanations regarding dreams including Freud’s discussion on latent versus manifest content, as well as wish fulfillment. Threat-stimulation theory discusses dreams as a defense mechanism revolving around the individual to revisit events and learn to successfully conquer them–this can be connected to Leonardo Dicaprio’s character in dealing with his deceased wife–in preparation for future, similar events. Expectation- fulfillment is a release of emotional arousal encountered during the day in order to actively complete or fulfill these emotions to make room for the following day. On a neurobiological note, Activation-synthesis is the theory that dreams are devoid of meaning but just a state of electrical impulses occurring in the brain that conjure images from memory ( a very controversy theory that has been consistently disputed by evolutionary psychologists). Lastly, Continual-Activation theory regards dreams as a process of memory storage in which information is encoded for long-term storage, and the process of accommodation occurs allowing for the building of new connection between synapses to successfully transfer these short term memories to long term information easily recalled.
Yet, how does Inception fit in with all of these differing theories? Does Inception fit any one of these theories, a couple, or none? Inception also utilities high-tech instruments to not only induce sleep, but to also connect individuals to one another’s dreams. How does this affect these possible theories? Is the movie attempting to investigate the power of dreams, the complexities of the human psyche, or the connection between both of these intriguing, difficult to answer concepts?

  • This topic is really important. I come from a philosophy background and find the idea that dreams can be "devoid of meaning" both sad and in my view completely untrue. Whether the narrative or content of our dreams have any necessary relation to our day to day lives, it's clear that our experience of the dreams are equally valid experiences of our lives that shape and define what it is to be our selves. I also think there is great creative power in dreams. During our waking states, we tend to be distracted by what's real and have a hard time falling into pure imagination. I think we are, of all things, lucky to have dreams because they allow us to experience other worldly lives and see colors and shapes that are purely synthetic imaginings based off the real world but found nowhere in it. We are free to ignore or focus on our dreams as per our preference, but there's no way, as I see it, dreams aren't a crucial part of life. – maayano 5 years ago
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  • Inception is full of Descartean philosophy -- primarily paralleling Descarte's confounding questioning of our very reality, claiming that in truth we cannot even know the validity of our own world. I think you should add some of Descarte's philosophy to this text. – Brandon T. Gass 5 years ago
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