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Why Jesus?: Rediscovering His Truth in an Age of Mass Marketed Spirituality

Why Jesus?: Rediscovering His Truth in an Age of Mass Marketed Spirituality

by Ravi Zacharias

Learn More | Meet Ravi Zacharias
It’s a Dream World

From the first moment of the movie Inception, you are taken through enough mysteries and plots strung together that you are not sure whether you are watching the movie or the movie is watching you. You feel yourself trying to determine whether you are dreaming that you are awake or are awake and dreaming. You begin to question whether you understand reality at all or if reality has conned you, and a series of mind games follows: Is consciousness a cause or an effect? Are we human beings eternal entities given a quantity of time to exist or are we time-laden bodies pretending to be eternal? In short, in the complex mix of the drama, the biggest struggle is whether you, the watcher, are the ultimate dreamer or merely the dream.

Ironically, the unavoidable reality in this brilliant production is that dreaming or awake, the lead characters display their infinite capacity for human depravity. The schemes that wreak devastation – wholesale slaughter, explosions, killing, everything in the news that clutters our daily lives – are the staple of the movie, whether the characters are in a state of slumber or awake. One thing has to be said for Hollywood: there are some real geniuses behind the levels to which they can carry the imagination.

The plot of Inception is built on the idea that a person can infiltrate another individual’s mind through their dream and steal that person’s subconscious thoughts and plans. The extractors of the information that is gained through the dreams and their victims sleep in close proximity to one another, linked by a device called the “Dream Share,” which administers a sedative that allows them to share the dream jointly. Interestingly, pain experienced in the dream world is real, and if one awakes in the middle of the dream, death will result from the abrupt crossing of consciousnesses. So one must remain in a state of sleep and endure the pain in order to accomplish the extraction. The sedation has to last. So in this depraved reality, if you are the extractor you must remain asleep, enduring someone else’s pain, until you can extract the information you want. That’s about it.

The lead character carries a little spinning top called a “totem” that either spins unceasingly or topple, allowing him to determine whether he is dreaming or awake, respectively. Odd, isn’t it, that even in the wanderings of our imaginations we still want to know the difference between fantasy and reality by implanting a world within a world to separate the realities? No human emotion is missing from Inception: family longings, children at play, the usual array of surreal underworld figures and big-business shenanigans and the angst of marital strains all form the tapestry of the story.

The overall mission in this film is to secretly implant an idea that will topple a business adversary. Just trying to figure out what is going on is enough to keep your attention as you are swept into the story with its gripping motif of how the power of an idea planted in the mind can change an individual and in fact, rearrange reality when it is given motivation and direction. The web that is being spun becomes even more complex, delving into deeper and deeper levels of the subconscious with proportionate ramifications. Just enough of the supernatural is included to tantalize the viewer with a world beyond the physical, and the producers have created psychological terrain and breadth of imagination that would have made Freud look sophomoric.

Intriguing about this mix is how its creators concoct a mesmerizing blend of mutually exclusive worldviews. But in the world of moviemaking the irrational and the rational work hand in hand to create worldviews that, in the end, endow a human being with divine powers. That seems always to be the desired result, and the means are harnessed to accomplish that end.

Interestingly, the same man who brought us this movie spectacular also brought us The Dark Knight, which was really Batman made postmodern. In that movie, award-winning actor Heath Ledger played the sinister role of the Joker with near satanic powers. Once again, you walked away from the movie thinking it was “just a movie.” But was it? One can write a whole book on some of the lines in that story. You can’t seem to escape the question of whether that was all there was to it … just a movie.

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