The Sleeper Awakes

Filed under: Toronto — Russell @ 7:49 pm  

This post may contain minor Inception SPOILERS!

Last night I met my friend David and we went to see Inception.  Given the complexity of the story it held together quite well.  Leonardo DiCaprio does a good turn as the haunted leader of the group.  I had expected he would be too pretty to play someone with a painful history but he pulled it off.  There has been some criticism of Ellen Page as exposition girl but as always I found her quite watchable.  I’m also warming to Joseph Gordon-Levitt although he still looks a bit boyish to play an action hero.

After the movie David and I went for dinner and talked about big life changes.  He left his job at the bank several years ago to become a clown, an announcement almost designed to bewilder his former colleagues.  In the context of the movie we talked about what people label the real world.  Typically, this is coded shorthand for the unpleasant aspects of earning money.  What is surprising is that when you stop worrying about making enough money, a task designed to be asymptotically unattainable, you find that real life is more about connecting with people.

I think the theme of knowing what is real (what is the Matrix?) is coming to prominence as our ability to create simulated worlds increases.  Video games strive for realism as they contemplate the leap across the uncanny valley.  Perhaps we have started to worry that the electronic wool can be pulled over our eyes so that we live unknowingly in an artificial world.  Inception plays with this fear.  The Matrix made it look cool.  If one suspects that the world as seen is not real, rather looking for some physical contradiction that would reveal the trick, try building deep, complex, meaningful relationships with people.  This is much harder to simulate.  So if you find yourself engaging in shallow interactions with people who seem strangely disassociated, wake up!  You are either dreaming or living a shallow life.  Either way, time to move on.