Inception IS possible

Posted on August 4, 2010

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Imagine you’re an American dude (if you’re not already one). A friend comes up to you and says, “Man…I just read the most amazing book. You’ve gotta read this, man. It’s fantastic.”

“Sounds great, man,” you say. “I’ll check it out. What’s the book?”

“It’s called Twilight. Great read, bro. Great read.”

You trust your friend, but you can’t believe what he just said. I mean, you’ve heard about this book. You’ve seen the t-shirts. The pins. The posters. Reluctantly though, after lots of persuading from your “friend,” you take the book into your shaking, sweaty hands.

Abject fear sets in as you stare at the cover. Everything inside you that you’ve ever been taught- directly or indirectly, consciously or subconsciously- is telling you that what your friend has asked you to do is not only morally wrong, but will surely get your Man-Card permanently revoked if anyone finds out that you so much as turned the first page. Be that as it may, after weeks of sleepless nights trying to decide whether or not to emasculate yourself by just reading the Table of Contents, you crawl into your closet, shut the door…and read.

You like this book. Oh my gosh, you LOVE this book. Impossible! You play football, watch ESPN and play Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2!! How is it that Twlight- a book that set of an annoying craze among teenage girls, young adult women, and even a few shady middle-aged ones- has you hanging on every word?

Like most people, I thought the movie “Inception” was pretty freakin’ sweet. Awesome idea, crazy plot twists, solid film score. The concept of actual inception in the movie- that an idea could be planted in someone’s mind from an outside source during a dream in such a way that the certain someone actually believes that it was their own original thought- is a fascinating concept to say the least. Many of the characters in the movie who specialized in this “field of dreams” felt it wasn’t possible, but Leo says that it is.

The Twilight Syndrome is why I tend to agree with Leo.

How many red-blooded American boys have even entertained the idea that they might like the Twilight books? And how many of them that never consider touching the thing might actually really enjoy the story? The answer to that question is the same as the answer to the question of how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop: the world may never know.

It’s a silly example, but the point is an important one. Why did the boy who liked the Twilight book struggle to even crack the thing open? Because his mind has been highly trained by any number of “inceptors” to think one way and one way only: Twilight = lame. In fact, this idea has been planted so firmly within his thought process that he actually thinks that the resistance to Twilight was his idea in the first place.

We do the same thing with music. When was the last time you saw a white kid gettin’ down to mariachi music instead of mocking it? Or an ethnic minority who listens to country music because they can’t stand hip-hop? STEREOTYPICALLY, these things just don’t happen. As a white dude, I have to say that it never even occurred to me until I taught music in central Texas that I might actually like mariachi music. Never even occurred to me. Now THAT’S scary.

Leo is right. Inception is possible. In fact, it’s already happened to most of us, and it’s shaping the way we judge every book, every movie, and every song/piece of music that comes to our attention. But the most embarrassing thing about our predicament it is that the inceptors didn’t have to bust into our drugged-up dreams to plant these ideas that we’ve come to believe are our own.

They did it while we were awake.

Music I DARE You to listen to

Dare: Enigma Variations- Nimrod, by Edward Elgar. The movement of the melody from note to note is slow, but enjoy that. This is a great example of something that is simple that is unquestionably beautiful. It starts softly and slowly crescendos to the climactic moment of the piece, and then it sort of parachutes the listener down softly for the finish.

Don’t watch the clip. Just stop what you’re doing, turn out the lights, and listen.

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