This is incorrect - in fact there is a very reasonable explanation that the Matrix is three levels, and what looks like the real world is just another level of the matrix. This is why Neo's abilities bleed over into the real world.
That is the version that most closely aligns to Baudrillard's philosophy.
I preferred an alternative explanation, where The One actually comes in two parts, a program in the matrix, and a human in the real world with a direct neuro link to that program. Neo's powers are expressed in the real world because he still has a direct link to the machines.
I liked the sequels a lot better once I read that. They're still not genius cinema, but they're better.
I think Sati was really the One and inserting Neo's code into the Source rebooted it, effectively deleting her. This did NOT happen thanks to Neo not choosing the Source (and tge Oracle's tricks).
But the real world is still not real ;)
If that's the case, then, the Matrix is a good thing since it would let us understand in more depth the reality.
His powers don't work on the flesh-and-blood Bane/Smith. He can't swipe the knife away from Trinity's neck at a distance. He can't easily beat Bane/Smith in a fistfight. The best he gets is to see Smith's machine form after being blinded.
All of his powers shown in the real world are against machines, never flesh-and-blood humans.
No twist, no paradox, no confusion - there was an extra layer.
Instead the movie baked in religious overtones and went the supernatural route (basically invalidating everything they set up in the universe in the first place).
Interestingly, the Thirteenth Floor did a pretty good job of that overall premise (sims inside sims), but without the dystopian overtones.
But if I'm expecting cerebral sci-fi, I have high standards for everything being tight and thought out. With those expectations in mind, I found Inception pretty dumb. It makes me wish I'd seen it without hearing all the hype first.
But at least it was better than Looper.
I suspect the rarity of filmmakers with talent at the level of, say, Cocteau, drags down the standards of what people are able to comprehend as truly cerebral.
The masterpiece of The Dark Knight was the same thing, except that the emotion was horror: each of the Joker's little atrocities kept building up and building up until the last one was so large that he didn't even need to be on screen anymore.
That's Nolan's trade mark. He uses callbacks and repetition to mount emotion.
I really, really didn't get why so many people on the net didn't get it, or thought it was really complicated !
Well a dream is as real as things get.
The whole problem is really in describing reality. Ask any lucid dreamer and they will explain you than the key to lucid dreaming is to constantly question your current state(are your dreaming or not?).
And after some time it just doesn't matter. Because every thing is just a electrical impulse to your brain. If your brain is sent a signal to treat hot as cold. You will hold a hot iron in your hands and be perfectly OK with it. The reality of things 'hot being hot' doesn't change, nothing changes but your perception of things.
If you ponder deep enough when you dream this is what happens in a dream too. You are perceiving things. Whether they are real are not, is as useless argument because your knowledge of it is the way your brain is telling you about it and not what it actually is.
I've had inception like dream within dream, losing lucidity while dreaming inside the dream and there after. In stages like that its difficult to say what is reality and what isn't. The safest way is to not do any thing harmful or dangerous. In fact I didn't know of it until I woke, it was then during a usual dream recall that I got a surreal feeling that I had woke up from three levels of 'reality'.
After "waking up" into what I think is reality, I experienced a single difference between dreams and reality.
In every dream that I woke up, I could see myself from the top and then immediately when my dreaming self opened it's eyes I started seeing things through that perspective .
>> Is sleeping inside a dream possible? If not, that could be a trustable way to find out if one is a dream or not. Much more reliable than a ring ;)
I hope some day I dream at such deep levels.
It makes you really skeptic and a little more cautions, but also open to risk than you would usually be. Maybe a good attitude for an entrepreneur, but all your logic and fear induced by that logic mostly fades away at some times. That's when you think it could be a dream subconsciously, at that time you start doing things you never would. It's twisted, it could also make you overly cautious, because you start valuing real life as something more wonderful than you thought, a unique thing, something you are deadly afraid of losing control of. The worst is: "What if you understand your multi-level dream as bad as you understood Inception?" Just like some friend of yours who had trouble getting Matrix in example. Could that mean you see draw a pattern and believe reality is the 5th dream? Could that when you really wake up, make everything make appear surreal? Would you try to jump from a window or do something to find out if you're dreaming?
The question that reality is a dream is supported by the Simulated Reality Hypothesis and that is also factor that makes this film a great one. Because there is no answer to that question. You could wake up when you die, or you could die. Using stochastic maths and game theory would suggest to die, but that speaks against everything that makes a game, a dream or life out. Playing is winning. Not playing is losing.
First off, yes, our brain offers us an interpretation of the outside world, but no, that's not 'its' interpretation. We are it.
Second - dreaming is not as real as things get. Yes, our perception determines how we react to the world, but it does not actually change the world on its own. In a dream, our perception is expressed as actual physical changes to the structure of what's around us. In other words, in life, I can imagine a house on fire, but it's still standing - whereas in a dream, that bitch burns to the ground.
Third - whether or not I'm dreaming does matter (and the way you try to explain that doesn't really make a ton of sense). If I shoot myself in the face in a dream, I wake up. If I shoot myself in the face at my job during the day, it's a bit different outcome.
Fourth - I can ponder what is in a dream, and I can perceive what is in a dream. This does not carry the same weight as perceiving and pondering the world around me. At most, the dream perception is just fancy navel gazing, it's introspection at its finest (or worst depending on your view). Whereas perceiving and pondering the world around me can directly impact how much I have to eat today, whether or not I get hit by a car, or whether or not I'm on fire.
The argument that dreams are the same as reality because our brain offers interpretations of both has always, to me, seemed to be the 'whoa man, check out how big my hands are' type of stoner bullshit from college. Arguing that our dreams should carry as much weight as our interaction with the world around us has always come across as just a miserable person's way of saying that they're not happy with where they're at in life, but that's okay because it's all about how we interpret the world around us.
I didn't intend for that to be as hateful as it came across. I've read it three times and can't make it any less hateful. Take it for what it's worth.
You might simply be treating a level of wakefulness as real.
This is exactly what happens when you have dreams within dreams. You wake up to level, which you think is real. Until you wake to another level and so on.
The term 'real' isn't that hard to define. It consists of everything that exists when I cease to exist. It is everything around me that keeps going when I stop going.
Therefore, awake, asleep, on drugs, it doesn't matter. My perception of the world is just that, my perception. The world exists whether I'm here or not. To argue that reality is dependent on your own personal perception is one of the most egotistical and self-centered things I've ever heard.
Again, the 'everything and nothing is real' argument just comes across as sophomore existentialism, nothing more.
We all create ou own "reality" out off faulty perceptions and memorys.
"Playing a game" is a bad example because it is hardly compareable to the complex illusion we really ( ;) ) live in.
The dream world of inception however is as complex as as the "real" world (at least from a humans point of view).
Sorry but you are sailing into a philosphical ocean with only a inflateable animal as support.
Sanity is socially-defined. So is reality, at least human-eudaimonic reality. Basically, imagine we live in the Matrix, and you get out, but you're the only one who does get out or ever can get out. Do you live in reality?
In the scientific sense, yes: causal arrows run from your reality to ours.
In the social sense, no: you live in total isolation, have an utterly meaningless life due to lack of social relationships, and quickly go insane from the extreme solitude. (I mean that literally: solitary confinement of human beings causes measurable damage to mental and neurological health.)
Given multiple possible realities, the one that's going to make you sane and happy is the one where everyone else lives, or at least enough of a peer group to keep you sane. Thus, if you break out of the Matrix, you should focus on building Zion.
If we're talking about real-world, non-hypothetical real-life versus, say, World of Warcraft, it's pretty damn obvious that you can have better and more meaningful relationships with more people in real life, and that living almost entirely in real life does much more to support your physical and mental health than living in WoW. We can therefore obviously conclude you should stop playing WoW right now and go out in the healthy sunshine.
Just like your mom used to tell you, but way mind-screwier.
It's really metaphor for life.
Putting it in a more easily-digestible form is a useful thing to do, which tends to blunt this line of criticism. There are some philosophy professors who really appreciate these movies, because they provided nice reference points that their students already know about, making it much easier to teach certain concepts.
For what it's worth, I enjoyed the idea of Inception a great deal. Part of me really wants to love the movie. But it's hard for me to love it when I've seen Memento do the same thing so much more deftly, with such a smaller budget, given a lot more constraints. Memento is Nolan the filmmaker, and Inception is Nolan the movie director. I enjoy both, and I'm not saying Inception is without its originalities or its merits. But I can't call it a masterpiece; it's disjointed and incoherent in a way that smacks of excess.
I dig your analogy, but I am not sure it's 100% warranted in this case, given that Nolan made both movies. It would be one thing if the Wachowskis both wrote Neuromancer and made The Matrix. But they didn't. They made The Matrix as an action movie that just happened to have some metaphysical underpinnings. They didn't make a philosophical piece that happened to have great action sequences. The movie is pretty clear about where it stands on that spectrum, and most fans who are honest with themselves about why they like the movie will admit they like it for the fight scenes. (As a mental test, replace the computer-simulation plot device with any similar construct: dreams, alternate dimensions, etc. -- and everything else about the movie holds up just fine.)
With Inception, I can't tell where Nolan stands. Is it a thought piece with cool special effects, or a special-effects piece with deep thoughts? As much as we might rush to categorize it as the former, I'm not so sure. Trying to be the latter gets in the way of the former. Nolan tries to have his cake and eat it, too, and he's not entirely successful at either. What results is a beautiful, haunting, provocative, but flawed movie.
I do agree with your general assertion that Momento is a more coherent film and I think that is largely due to the scope and scale of those respective films' budgets.
On one level, yes. But Memento is a philosophical inquiry as much as it's a literal mystery.
"his remarks after that "it doesn't really matter whether or not Cobb is in a dream" lead me to believe a lot of it is more of a character study"
I think the same point is generally true about Memento.
[Massive spoiler alert for anyone who hasn't seen Memento and might be curious]
The "big reveal" in Memento isn't so much the unraveling of the mystery. It's that the mystery itself is a red herring. Leonard chooses his own reality, regardless of whether or not it's the factual truth, and regardless of whether or not he's caught in an infinite loop of his own creation. The same can be said of Cobb's choice at the end of Inception, running out to embrace his kids (and this particular version of reality) without checking on the spinning top. At the conclusion of both films, the protagonists basically surrender to subjectivity. They realize, consciously or not, that it's the only rational choice they have. They can never know the real truth, so they construct or embrace the truth that suits their needs.
This is what I meant when I said that both films are explorations of the same theme. That theme is basically our agency and choice in the subjectivity of our reality. It's about how we create the worlds we inhabit, literally (in the case of Cobb's "architecture" of dreams) or figuratively (in the case of Cobb's and Leonard's choices w/r/t reality).
Essentially, it would be lucid dreaming and world building on demand. I think the idea that it would be held down by the world's governments is more than a little simplistic. Heck, the world's governments can't keep pot or data dumps from whistle blowers off the streets, let alone something like this.
The dangerous time for any tech is when it invokes fear before or at release.
It could have been something else, like something similar to Tron or The Matrix, or maybe a magical background, but it needed the "multiplayer, multilevel thoughts" one way or another for the story.
"In engineering, fiction, and thought experiments, unobtainium is any fictional, extremely rare, costly, or impossible material, or (less commonly) device needed to fulfill a given design for a given application. The properties of any particular unobtainium depend on the intended use. For example, a pulley made of unobtainium might be massless and frictionless; however, if used in a nuclear rocket, unobtainium would be light, strong at high temperatures, and resistant to radiation damage. The concept of unobtainium is often applied flippantly or humorously."
It wasn't in the context of "Quick, pass me that bar of unobtanium!", or other in-universe common-usage (a la "midichlorians"), but rather a deliberate simplification. ("What do we mine here? __important shit__! Now leave me alone and go back to your useless sociology experiment while I do something important!")
All fiction is metaphor. Science fiction is metaphor. What sets it apart from older forms of fiction seems to be its use of new metaphors, drawn from certain great
dominants of our contemporary life - science, all the sciences, and technology, and the relativistic and the historical outlook, among them. Space travel is one of
these metaphors; so is an alternative society, an alternative biology; the future is another. The future, in fiction, is a metaphor.
In that state I enjoyed it and found it pleasantly thought provoking but that's not to suggest it was a massively clever film as there were days back then when I found tying my shoe laces pleasantly thought provoking.
Then there is also the god-awful performance of Cotillard.
But this article had sense when inception was still in theater and all the hype was about the movie. It's not something really important, or amazing, or... years after it now became just another trivia about a movie. But I'm glad some people can hear about it for the first time anyway.
To search for clues as to whether it's one or the other is to miss the point.
Using the ring as an indicator allows someone to nit pick that he may be wearing the ring in that scene and that something happened between the airport and the car ride home.
Using the fact that he didn't care to verify solidifies the real result... he's given up fighting.
Whether Cobb cares or not he's still somewhere.
Or you can look at it that there are two endings depending on what you're looking for - certainty or something other.
a) At the end of the movie he is awake, and he really meets his children. The lack of the ring is consistent with all available evidence prior to this point because he only has the ring on when he is asleep.
b) At the end of the movie he has successfully escaped Limbo twice. Cobb has mastered his own psyche; he has achieved closure on Mal's death; he has finally embraced in his own mind that the Mal in the dream is just a ghost, and can be in the dream without the ring. He can dream again without Mal invading from his subconscious.
'Inception and Philosophy'
It is a 3-act play where the Prince of Poland, Segismundo was imprisoned since birth due to a bad prediction by astrologers that he would be evil. However, Rosaura and Clarín arrange for his release.
Nace el ave, y con las galas
que le dan belleza suma,
apenas es flor de pluma
o ramillete con alas,
cuando las etéreas salas
corta con velocidad,
negándose a la piedad
del nido que deja en calma;
¿y teniendo yo más alma,
tengo menos libertad?
In Act 2, Segismundo contemplates his freedom and his relief turns into outrage. Indeed he rapes a women, throws a man over a cliff and murders another one.
In the 3rd act he is captured and thrown back in chains - the astrologers' prediction has been fulfilled.
Inception certainly takes this several iterations further putting dream inside dream inside dream. Yet, metaphysical questions of whather you are awake or dreaming have been around...
Very glad to have read this subtle message from the director! A masterpiece in my mind.
There certainly may be more depth than I'm seeing, but there wasn't anything that made me need to wonder why anything happened the way it happened. As mentioned in the thread already, Momento's the one that isn't straightforward.
I'm not intentionally trolling---I suppose I probably am missing something. There just wasn't anything obviously confusing on the movie's surface for me.
wow 3 years already?
That's something I read and wondered.