Christopher Nolan: A Hollywood Guru?

I have seen Inception twice now and the reason I’m considering a third showing is at the mercy of Christopher Nolan’s strikingly surprising ability to hit the existential nail on the directly on the head.  The themes woven into the mind-bending, multi-level, subconscious/action thriller are almost too delicately placed, yet seem to break through the plot at the most opportune moments. Inception proved to be more than just an entertaining film; it breached boundaries of reality.  Inception posed the ultimate question: what is real?

I understand many other movies have also asked this question – a few thematically fit being the Matrix and the Truman Show – but Inception went a step further and gave some probing suggestions that I happen to be very interested in.  The first of these suggestions being reality as the mind.  Second, if reality is based inside the mind, then a thought is more real than the object the mind is thinking about, hence the pain experienced inside a dream.  In this sense, the mind is the creator and also the experiencer.  Nolan alludes to this in his dialogue when one of his characters explains how shared dreaming and creativity work.  The character goes on to say that in a dream the mind is simultaneously creating and experiencing.  Where Nolan left off, this blog will pursue.  Instead of the concept of a contemporaneous reality only applying just dreams, I believe we experience this phenomena every moment ad infinitum.

My mind sees everything in this room.  I am a visitor experiencing reality.  The objects are there and I a perceiving them.  This is an accepted paradigm.  The parameters of this paradigm elude the reality of, well, reality because excludes half of the equation.  I am the viewer who is also simultaneously the creator.  I am experiencing my surroundings just as much as I am creating them.  We literally create everything we perceive at the very same moment.

Scientists have dedicated an entire field to understanding this phenomena.  Quantum mechanics or physics, is based on the idea that matter is mainly non-matter vibrating in wave-like motions that only become “solid” once experienced.  On the other hand, this topic is also widely discussed in religion and spirituality.  Enlightenment is seen as becoming the observed and observer, the omnipresent.  Transcending the dualistic world of the intellect and realizing the subject is also the object.  In Catholicism, God is everywhere, in everything and all will eventually be reunited with him in his omnipresence, suggesting we reach this stage of concurrent reality at death.  On a personal note, I have experienced moments during meditations where I am witnessing a scene, yet it is from every single possible perspective of that scene.  It is as if I were creating and experiencing everything in unison. (However, in meditation, I am experiencing “allness”, and in waking life my mind is limiting my experience to my personal perception).  This concurrent experience is what Christopher Nolan’s Inception flirts with.  Is the dreamscape in his movie maybe a metaphor for our own everyday life?

How I would love sit down and talk with Mr. Nolan.


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