The Regime Wants Another World War
‘The Dream Is Collapsing’
by William Norman Grigg
“Who knows whether the other half of our life, in which we think we are awake, is not another sleep a little different from the former, from which we awake when we suppose ourselves asleep? And who doubts that, if we dreamt in company, and the dreams chanced to agree, which is common enough, and if we were always alone when awake, we should believe that matters were reversed?
In short, as we often dream that we dream, heaping dream upon dream, may it not be that this half of our life, wherein we think ourselves awake, is itself only a dream, on which others are grafted, from which we wake at death….”
~ Blaise Pascal, Pensees
It’s tempting to think that the immensely gifted film director Christopher Nolan derived his premise for Inception – multi-layered dreams within dreams orchestrated by teams of “extractors” who are nimble in the dark arts of psychological manipulation – from Blaise Pascal’s 17th Century philosophical tract. In any case, there are many points of correspondence between “Inception” and the similarly elaborate exercise in collective delusion and artful deception called the “American Dream.”
At its most accessible level, Nolan’s story is about a team of industrial espionage agents, led by a tormented man named Dominic Cobb, who employ shared dreaming technology (originally developed for the military, of course) to steal corporate secrets from the subconscious minds of people while they sleep. Cobb and his “extractors” were hired by an Asian corporate mogul named Saito to perform an “inception” – that is, planting an idea in the subconscious mind of Robert Fischer, a man who stood to inherit a vast energy corporation. Fischer would thus be manipulated into breaking up the company; this would be to the benefit of Saito, who owned a rival corporation.
This scheme required the creation of a multi-layered dream “architecture,” and the deep sedation of Fischer in order for the dream state to remain stable long enough to plant the desired suggestion.