“The trick is to combine your waking rational abilities with the infinite possibility of dreams…if you do that, you can do anything.” —-Waking Life
Here is what you do if you have a passing interest in neuroscience, psychology, or physics but are too lazy to take science classes in college: make movies. In the last decade or so, some of the most successful movies from nearly every genre—from thrillers like Memento to sci-fi/action movies like The Matrix to art house movies like Waking Life—involve quirks of the mind: alternate realities, psychological disorders, and imaginary characters.
Inception, the latest film from Christopher Nolan (director of the aforementioned Memento as well as The Dark Knight, which means we at NPI are predisposed to like him), tackles dreaming, an area so loaded with psychological and epistemological ramifications that the movie feels ready to burst at the seams. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Cobb, a thief who enters peoples’ dreams to steal their ideas. This process, known as “extraction,” involves exploiting projections of a dreamers’ subconscious to reveal secrets. Continue reading »