After watching inception twice I am still confused as to what was real and what was not. I have come to the conclusion that the entire movie was Cobb dreaming. I believe this because Cobb’s totem used to be his wife’s totem. He only retrieved the totem when they were stuck in limbo. He said never to let anyone else feel the weight of your totem. Meaning that he himself has no way of knowing the actual weight or feel of his wife’s totem. In other words Cobb has no totem, no way of knowing what is real and what isn’t. The totem only shows Cobb what he wants to believe. Since the entire movie was a dream of his making, his subconscious may have led the totem to drop/ wobble when he wanted to believe he was in reality.
I believe that Cobb’s wife Mol was the one trying to pull them back to reality. Mol kept trying to draw him out when in reality he kept falling further and further. Cobb didn’t join Mol in jumping off the building to get into reality. Cobb has been dreaming for so long and so deep that he has lost reality. The main reason I believe Cobb has been dreaming all along is because of the ending. When Cobb thinks he has arrived back to reality and back to his children, they are wearing the same clothes, and in the same position as he last saw them. He became suspicious and spun the top.
Cobb finally saw his kid’s faces and walked away from his totem. Seeing his kid’s faces was enough reality for him. Cobb created his own reality. He formulated the entire dream to justify his belief in what was real and what wasn’t. He needed the elaborate dream to lead him back to his children which signify his reality. With that being said, I believe the movie argued for idealism. Cobb’s reality was based on the mind. If the totem had not been his wife’s, and had not been found in a dream, I would have argued for realism. Because the material thing, or totem, would be what determines reality. The top was supposed to keep spinning in a dream, and wobble or drop in reality. However as stated before Cobb found the totem in a dream, and it wasn’t even his totem, therefore it holds no significance in determining reality.
With my interpretation of the entire movie being a dream of Cobb’s, the movie would have to be based on empiricism. Cobb experiences things that I don’t believe were reality yet he takes them to be true. For example, if the movie was in fact all a dream of Cobb’s, then his wife’s suicide was just a projection of his imagination. Yet as he dreams deeper he believes it to be true. Cobb’s knowledge is based on experience because really there is no reason or rational to rely on when your dreaming within a dream within a dream within a dream, etc. Like Cobb said, once you make it down to limbo it is hard to sense what reality is. Cobb’s only grip on reality is his totem, which I explained before, was never really his in the first place. He has no reason.
He only has experience to rely on. His experiences in his dreams become his reality. What reason do you have to cling to when the biggest determination of reality(the totem) isn’t real. In the end when Cobb see’s his children’s faces, the experience of being with them is all he needs to justify reality. Hence why he walks away from his totem. Cobb’s experiences within a dream are what formulate his reality. If it was reason that formulated his reality, he wouldn’t be in limbo anymore. He would have listened to his wife and figured out that he is still dreaming by now. He would have never accepted that totem as his own. I would like to argue both pragmatic and coherent theories for my take on Inception.
However, I do believe the coherent theory fits a little better. The coherent theory states that something is true if it is consistent with other beliefs that are held to be true. The problem in this theory is that there is no definition or criteria of what a logical belief is. Cobb thinks his wife is stuck in limbo and that he is in reality. Basically any thought that he has that coheres with that main thought is true. Him believing he was hired to plant an idea in Fishers mind was in fact true to him. The capability of planting an idea in someone’s head was true to him. Why? Because his core belief was that he himself had planted an idea in his wife’s head before, causing her to lose touch with reality.
All belief’s Cobb had were consistent with his main belief, that he was not longer in limbo. Cobb believed that the totem actually did tell him when he was or wasn’t dreaming. However as stated before the totem wasn’t his to begin with so how could that be true? How could it be true that when the totem wobbles or falls he is in fact in reality? He found the totem in limbo, so he doesn’t know what the true weight or feel of that totem is.
Yet he believes in this totem because he needs to. His mind has created a scenario to help him retrieve what he craves, reality. The elaborate dream and all of his truth’s cohere in order to get him back to happiness. Although Cobb may not be in reality, his belief of being so is enough to satisfy him. Cobb’s mind created what he wanted to believe was reality. I guess if you have no grip on reality anymore, creating the closest thing to it would be your best shot at happiness.