Inception Part 1: Reality

The Biggest Lie

What is the biggest lie in the world? The lie that has distracted people for the last few hundred years? What lie keeps us from reaching our, and the world’s, true potential?

The lie that this – what we can see, touch, smell, taste and feel – is all there is. That if we can sense something, it must be real. That if something cannot be proven it doesn’t exist.


But the truth, my fellow Pop Chassids, is that the dam to Truth is starting to crack. The Truth, that there is so much more out there, so many levels to reality (eight, actually, if you ask the kabbalists) that if we just began to access them, our souls would suddenly begin to fly free.

This, my Poppers, is the progress that the movie Inception (and its success) represents. One of the big smash hits of the summer, and the only hit that’s “not based on a book, a TV show or an older movie”. We are witnessing history happening before our eyes.

And the most obvious lesson, the one that is impossible not to feel when walking out of the movie theater, is that this world, it’s not all there is. And perhaps, maybe it’s not anything at all (this is a misperception, which I will explain in another blog).


Inception opens with a shot of our hero Cobb laying on a beach, confused, breathing hard, and probably with lots of water in his shoes. He looks up, he sees his children. Then guys with guns. Weird, wild stuff.

The beginning of Inception is like the beginning of our lives: we’re wet, dirty, confused. We see a bunch of stuff we can’t make heads or tails of.

The parallel is purposeful.

We later find out that the world Cobb wakes up in is actually the lowest level of his dream mind. What is called “limbo” in the movie. Limbo is the world where everything is real, and yet nothing is real. A world where people, like our poor friend Mal, can become so caught up, they convince themselves it is more real than the worlds above.

Limbo, my fellow Chassids, is our world. Our physical world. It is a world full of huge buildings, creations built by our own imaginations, a world that seems epically huge. But as Cobb is determined to prove to both Mal and himself, our world is simply limbo, the lowest dream state in a series of dreams.

And the truth is that like Cobb and Mal, at the outset, we naturally believe that the limbo world we inhabit is real. Children, they get it. They believe in ghosts, have imaginary friends, and dance to invisible music. It is only as we get older, get more attached to the physical world we have created for ourselves, that we want to believe that limbo is reality. It is only after we build our perfect house, like Mol and Cobb did, that we start to tell ourselves, “No, this crazy, backwards world is real!”

If we’re not careful, we can end up like the sad sacks in the basement, hooked up to a machine, where the “Dream has become their reality” as the resident weirdo shaman said, thinking that believing in G-d is confusion, and believing that only the physical contains wisdom.

The Truth

But the truth is that there is more. So much more. The truth is that there are levels above us, levels we can’t even imagine. Levels where people fly around in zero gravity, where a physical paradox is not a paradox at all, where we are action heros, fighting for our kids and for truth.

And these levels, Truth Seekers, are the real(er) levels. The levels are where the true source of our zero gravity (the flying car), where the true source of that physical paradox (the Architect), where our children’s – and our – true souls are located.

And like Cobb, our goal needs to always be to rise higher, to get back to the surface, up to the Ultimate Source. The top level where only G-d exists. The lop level, which, in the end, is really the only level.

And it may take until “we grow old together”, or we may have to repeatedly go back down to limbo, but the point is that we strive. That even if we can’t see it, we make the top level the Only Level.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog: on:  Totems