Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Inception: A review of a review.

Catching up with the human race, I finallywatched Inception. It was fun, but honestly, I was expecting much more imagination from the dream sequences. Something along the lines of a Terry Gilliam (huzzah huzzah) film, or What Dreams May Come.

A friend of mine forwarded an article to me from Psychology Today about how silly the film is. I didn’t even like the film that much versus the hype (I give it a B+) but the article annoyed me. I'm just not sure what it’s trying to say. The guy who wrote it just seems annoyed and angry that people might question reality based on sci-fi / fantasy movies - another one of Us suffering from Arrogant Nerd Syndrome. There's a difference between believing and questioning. I'm surprised the article doesn't really deal with psychology, the writer just sort of lectures everyone else in the world but himself, and he seems to think we're all idiots.

The psychology of escapism is all there in the word escape. People's lives suck, they're overwhelmed, they have stress, they're miserable and unhappy and unfulfilled, and so they want out. They don't care about the science of it, they just want their shitty lives to be different, so they wish there was more than what there is. They want a do-over button. I admit I've felt that way many times myself, it's much easier than the work it takes to change things. I can believe in reality in my day to day life, but use my imagination to wonder what might be. Everything we experience is a model our brains make from our senses, but we know that there is so much more around us than our senses can detect (such as infra-red or radio waves) so why is it so impossible to believe there's more to the world than just what our senses can show us? No, we shouldn't live based on that possibility (I'm not going to deny my children health care because I think it will offend my imagined view of a deity who doesn't want competition in the healing department,) but we can still entertain it.

Let me clarify what I believe. Science is what theory can best be proven in repeatable conditions using the scientific method. If it does not meet those criteria, it is not science, should not be treated as such, and does not belong in a science class. People can believe whatever they like, as long as they don't insist that it is science, or that public school teachers should teach their improvable beliefs because they're "right." or "just a theory (but not a scientific theory) like anyone else's." But if it wasn't for someone trying imagine what might be, we wouldn't even have clubs, fire pits in caves, and tiger skins, we'd be using our fists and fingernails and dying of old age at thirty.

I can see his point that people who question reality are religious - I always found it hysterical that my parents were terrified about me getting too wrapped up in science fiction / horror / fantasy as a kid, but wanted me to believe that priests across the world can change - not represent, but actually change - a cardboard-tasting wafer and wine into the body and blood of God on a weekly basis. Believing in (insert your particular new age belief here) with the power to heal is a stupid and dangerous lie, my son - believe instead in the healing power of Holy Water from Lourdes...

Yes, as a semi-recovering ANS sufferer, I've done my share of annoyed bitching at unbelievable things in TV shows and movies. In the Dr Who episode "The Stolen Earth," the Daleks put twenty-seven planets (including Earth) close to each other. Wouldn't tidal forces cause sudden tidal waves, earthquakes and volcanoes? If Lois Lane fell 2 stories - much less the 20 or so she seems to in the first Superman movie before Superman caught her- especially if he was flying upward - wouldn't she just go splat all over his arms? OK I could go on and on, but you know... they're movies about aliens who can fly because our sun is yellow instead of red, or mutated green blobs in bumpy little tanks. We nerds like to act superior, but if the article writer is "constantly... fighting to suspend (his) disbelief," he needs to realize he's watching a sci-fi / fantasy thriller, not an episode of NOVA. 2001, A Space Odyssey was intended to be the most scientifically accurate sci-fi movie ever made - but it still had wormhole space travel, (off-camera) aliens, and a super-evolved space-fetus at the end. To sum up, I think the writer just needs to get over himself and get laid. Life is too short.



Aravis said...

I'm not going to read the article because it will just annoy me. And after the past few years, and those ahead of me, I'm practicing escapism by not reading anything to do with psychology. ;0)

Based on your description of the article, I have to agree with you. Loved your arguments and examples!

I must disagree with you about one thing, however. If Lois Lane only fell 2 stories, I don't think she'd go splat. Maybe break a bone or two, but I don't think that's really splat-worthy. ;0)

Tony LaRocca said...

Yes but Supes is also flying upward. :)