Cobb plants a negative idea for a good cause – Mal needs to leave limbo and join the real world. But the idea grows, soon outpacing Cobb’s ability to control the idea.
And because it is a negative idea, it becomes a negative force, an idea that destroys the initial “good” it performed. It became an infection, a curse. (“…the most resilient parasite…”)
Cobb’s second go-around with inception is focused on planting a positive idea. That idea also grows – except instead of leading to destruction, it leads to restoration and healing.
Although we don’t spend a lot of time in the movie with the post-inception world, we are told in no uncertain terms that Fischer had a cathartic healing of a life-long wound.
And to reinforce the notion, Cobb himself is restored and healed.
Notice that after the plane, we don't find out if Fischer follows through on tearing apart his father’s business – despite that being the goal of the team. The caper is only a device for Nolan; a device, I think, to get to this big theme.
Ideas grow; and how they grow depends on what we plant. (Proverbs: “He who sows wickedness reaps trouble...” and “…he who shows righteousness reaps a sure reward.”)
In our world: after a recent spat of violence on the part of protesters and activists, politicians such as Sarah Palin did a whole lot of backpedaling.
“Sure,” they said in my paraphrase, “we use violent language and images in our talks, and yes we try to convince our constituents that the other party is literally an enemy akin to terrorists and that they are trying to destroy our nation and must be stopped by any means necessary, but we are shocked –shocked I say!- that anyone would actually behave in a violent manner! It’s just words, after all.”
Yeah, you planted a negative idea and are shocked that a destructive root took hold.
(Before half of you get all up in my grill for dissing on the right, let me explain why I didn’t use the Dems: While the bluer side of the aisle does indeed try to plant negative ideas, ala “Republican Healthcare Plan: Die Faster,” in general the Dems are pretty inept in planting any coherent idea. So they would make a lousy example.)
Donald Miller recently addressed Ted Haggard’s comments at a conference, where Haggard whined that his staff did not offer grace to him after being caught in a long term relationship with a male prostitute. Aside from all the obvious problems with Haggard throwing himself a pity party, Donald points out that the staff’s response comes from how they were lead – and Ted made it clear that certain sins should never be responded to with love and grace.
Ted planted an idea of contempt, and was surprised when in action it came out as judgment. Hmmm…
So, what is the practical takeaway with this notion of “what kind of ideas do we incept?”
To be continued…