Tag: philosophy

Movie Review: Inception

I just saw Inception, which was an excellent movie, but at the same time, I didn’t like it.

…what?

The acting is great.  The action is inventive.  The plot is a bit contrived. The cinematography is good as well, but beside all of these details, what makes Inception a good movie is the fact that it makes the viewer think.  In fact, the entire point of the movie is contained in the last scene.

I won’t give it away, but it is intended to make you think.

Let’s start with the acting.  I really don’t know how to detect bad acting.  Let’s skip acting.

The action…what’s funny about the action is that it’s incidental to the movie.  There is action in this movie, but it is not an action movie.  It’s strange how the characters avoid getting shot…even a bit more so than most other movies.  This can be forgiven, however.

The plot could have been more or less surreal without really affecting the quality of the movie because of the very nature of the plot itself, but the existence of the technology is not explained, nor are the motivations of the experts corralled into helping the main character.  It’s populated by shady extra governmental militant corporations and unlikely characters.  In fact, most of this movie seems to exist in the main character’s head.  And they even mention the unreality of it all at one point.

Suspicious.

Now for the cinematography.  I also don’t know how to evaluate that.  There were some pretty scenes.  I liked them.  But let’s skip cinematography, because I’m an uneducated boor.

REALLY, though, the best part of this movie is that it makes you think, constantly.  It’s about a technology that allows you to infiltrate other peoples’ dreams and steal information.  But the dream reality is just as convincing as real life…it has to be, or the dream will start to implode as the dreamer realizes it’s a dream, and his or her subconscious will begin to eliminate any intruders.  And you wake from a dream most easily when you die.

I guess the best way to reframe this movie as a philosophical exercise is exactly that, actually.  What if life was a dream, and the only way to wake from it were to die?  Would you ever know during your life?

That said, I didn’t like the movie, primarily because I couldn’t suspend my disbelief, and the movie turned out to be Shutter Island II.  My subconscious immediately abstracted it out to the problem above, and I no longer cared about the movie or any of the multiple dreams the characters inhabited…

But there’s still something missing.  Something I’m not seeing, or something that I glossed over.  I just can’t think of it…

What I’m looking for is some positive message in this.  Truth, Love, Hope, all that jazz.  Someone help me out?

On Immortality

Sunday Morning Breakfast Philosophy

Yeah, we had bagels. Maybe we should have hit up IHOP...

Last weekend, I had an interesting breakfast conversation with my good friend Sonicsuns regarding immortality. Naturally, the question came about – would you take immortality, if given the choice? To which he and I had opposite responses.

Sonicsuns (henceforth SS) said, as a matter of fact, that yes he would. I, of course, opted for death, to which SS asked me, “So, at which point would you like to die?” which completely blindsided me. Thank you for that.

I like to say that I will *probably* meet my end around the age of 29, just due to probability of being hit by a bus or jumping off of something just a smidge too high this time, but in all seriousness, I wasn’t able to answer that question until I was driving away later.


The Case for Immortality:

SS: “I do these things not for a fear of death, but for a love of life.”

SS basically said that the things he does and enjoys in life are a product of loving life instead of fearing death. We don’t write love letters while thinking about our impending morality, generally, though that would be a poignant vignette. Meanwhile, I was attempting to advance the point that death brings meaning to life – that, given infinite life, progress is inevitable and therefore meaningless. This hooked us into a conversation about the dichotomy of progress and contentment that I’ve been subconsciously mulling over in my head, with Contentment as Yin and Progress as Yang.

SS saw Contentment as laziness, but I felt that was just casting things into terms of Progress. Laziness is the absence of Progress, whereas Contentment is the refutation of Progress. But, as SS pointed out, I was still reaching toward something beyond that dichotomy. I came to it as I left his house and started driving away.


The Case for Death:

Kung: “I guess what it comes down to in terms of immortality is the advancement of humanity to the point were nothing is out of our control.”

It was about Control. The point was similar for Contentment and Progress. Progress is the clenched fist controlling and altering the future, whereas Contentment is a hand left trailing in a gentle, flowing river. As a risk taker, a daredevil, and a tricker, the primary characteristic of my life has been overcoming fear. But to take away all fear, to control every aspect of life, including death, is to take away the zest of living. I don’t know when I will die. I don’t really care. Today is a miracle because tomorrow I could be gone. Neither is it fear. It is the joy and yet melancholy of a single snowflake. I have no urge to control that, and so to answer the question, “When do you want to die?”, I would answer, “When it happens.”


To Control death absolutely is farther than I’m willing to go. To limit ourselves from that ultimate test of courage is, to me, a damn shame. Someday, I’m going to see what’s on the flipside, and I’d love to tell you about it when it happens, but…

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