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Posted by Bushbaby (8th Aug 2010, 19:38)

In a dramatic break with tradition, I've decided to review this one sober.

Once you get under the surface of this film, you realise that its not really about dreams. Its really about simulated universes, as is made clear by the theme of "dream architecture". More specifically, Inception is an exploration of the Simulated Universe Argument. This is also what the Matrix sequels should have explored, if they hadn't dumbed down.

The Simulated Universe Argument goes something like this:

It is obvious at this point in human evolution that we will very soon have technology advanced enough to simulate a universe, including all particles, forces, and organisms within it.

It follows logically that such a simulation, if left to run for long enough, would eventually produce intelligent species' of its own, which would one day be capable of creating a simulated universe of their own

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 Bushbaby ( 8th Aug 2010, 19:42, Rank: Triffid )  reply

Review continued:-      , within the original simulation - a simulation within a simulation. This simulation would also one day produce virtual organisms with the capability to do the same. (hypothetical machines with infinite stack size and address space required, as usual for these sort of arguments)

Given those precepts, we can see how this would eventually lead to a very large number of simulations within simulations within simulations.

Given the laws of probability, is it not far more likely that we find ourselves inside one of the potentially infinite number of nested simulations, rather than in the singular, original parent universe? (The "real" one, if you like, but in this kind of universe, the word "real" just means "anything from further up the chain of nested simulations than the one you currently find yourself in", making "realness" an orderable, quantifiable variable rather than a true/false predicate)

Note that this argument does not prove that the universe is a simulation/artifical construct/architectured dream, but it does mean that if it turns out to be, you certainly shouldn't be all that surprised. In fact the best thing to do under those circumstances would be to pretend that you knew all along, based on these flimsy arguments.

The true nature of the universe is only made explicit in the final shot of the film - the spinning top, making the viewer aware that the supposed "top level" of reality is equally a "dream", or simulation. On a second viewing this is also obvious in the scene where the lead character has to force himself through an ever-narrowing alleyway between two buildings - clearly dream logic at work, and not reality.

In that respect, its a very similar movie to Existenz, both owing a lot to Karl Jaspers, viewing reality as a layer-cake. The further you swim upwards or downwards through the layers, the more clearly you realise that there is no top, and no bottom (its turtles all the way down and I intend to prove it lol).

The Matrix, by comparison, remains stuck in its "two-layer" reality, oblivious to the goings-on above and below it in the stack, and begins to seem a more limited and restricted vision all the time.

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