Dear Chassids, after the last blog, we may find ourselves a bit exhausted. A bit lost. And maybe even afraid. How are we expected to fight the Voice, to vanquish it off the face of the earth, when it is so strong? When it has such a hold on us? Especially since the Voice is even more powerful than Mal, since it has the ability to shift forms from one voice to another.
What hope do we have?
Luckily, just as with Cobb, we have some help. Help that, if we will only be willing to be aware of it, listen to it, and use it, will allow us not only to fight off our Voice, but to go even further, to help create a world of absolute beauty and truth.
Ariadne: The Architect
Ariadne. That little, quiet lady who seems, for some bizarre reason, to just follow Cobb everywhere. She seems to be the only one that truly understands him, that truly can sympathize with where he is coming from. The only one that can really see what is going on in his Mal-addled brain.
Why is this? What is so special about Ariadne?
Ariadne, Chassids, is the Other Voice. The Real Voice. The Chassidic teachers called her the “Good Inclination”. Some people call her the conscience.
Whatever she is, she is Cobb’s guide through his inner maze. Named after the Greek goddess who gave Theseus, a young man going into a labyrinth (or maze) to kill the Minotaur, a sword and a ball of thread, so that he could find his way out of the maze, Ariadne is Cobb’s personal angel on his shoulder, providing him with the guidance he needs to go to the center of his labyrinth and kill his own personal minotaur and come out again.
Our personal Ariadne, our Good Inclination, has given us our own sword, our own ball of string. All we have to do, just as occurred in Inception, is listen to her. To realize that she is speaking truth. When she is screaming in our ears that Mal, “is not real… she is just a projection!” we need to perk our ears up and listen. When she is telling us that we can’t just lock up Mal in a cage, we need to listen. Because Ariadne is the voice of truth, and it’s only when we begin to listen to her that we can truly free ourselves.
Arthur: The Point Man
Ah, Arthur. At first, it seems like Arthur is just nothing more than a dude that likes to kick some butt and occasionally get upset with Eames. But the truth is that Arthur is so much more.
Arthur is that aspect of G-d that is fully dedicated to helping us achieve our goal. Unlike Ariadne, though, this aspect of the world is much more kick-butt. Much more focused on action. Much more determined to achieve results.
However, to our eyes, it always seems like Arthur is screwing up. Getting caught. Shot. Using the wrong gun. Even completely missing the fact that Fischer had a militarized subconscious.
And like Cobb, we can find it incredibly frustrating when situations like that one come up. Although we know G-d has our back, it’s hard to believe that he could mess up so badly. Sometimes, we just want to yell at him, “This was your job… This was your responsibility! … This was not a part of the plan!”
But the truth is, just the hidden aspect of G-dliness, Arthur always has a plan. And he never, ever messes up. It’s all a part of the plan.
Why was Cobb forced to keep moving instead of languishing at the different levels of the dream? How was he able to stay focused? He couldn’t have done it with just Ariadne. He needed his life to be in constant peril. He needed Fischer’s security to keep him on his toes.
Cobb never got to see Arthur fighting for him in zero gravity. He never saw Arthur making an impossible kick possible. No, Arthur does not work for thanks. He works to get the job done.
And so does G-d.
Saito: The Tourist
Why does Inception open with Cobb’s last conversation with Saito? If the whole point of the movie was Cobb’s eliminating Mal #2, why begin and end the movie with Cobb talking to Old Saito? What’s so special about Saito?
In this world, down here in Limbo, there are some very special things, my friends. Some very special “sparks”. Little pieces of light strewn around, hidden, waiting to be discovered.
It is these sparks of G-dliness, my friends, that are the real reason we were sent down into this world.
In Inception, these sparks are represented by Saito. An incredibly powerful man on the Top Level, with practically unlimited resources, down in Limbo he is hopeless, sad and old, “waiting to die alone”.
Cobb does not achieve true redemption when he lets go of Mal. No, he is just flexing his muscles so he has the strength to reach Saito, Old Saito who is even deeper in Limbo than Mal #2.
In much the same way, we were sent into this world to find sparks of G-dliness. To accomplish a mission we may have not even realized we were on, one we may not have accepted had we known it was the real reason we were sent below.
“Downwards is the only way forwards”
Now, my fellow Chassids, I can see some of you clucking your tongues. Confused, wondering what this crazy guy is talking about. Sparks? Mission? Mal? How are you supposed to know where to find these sparks, how are you supposed to break your own Mal so that you can achieve the mission you aren’t even aware of?
The answer, my friends, starts with listening to that quiet voice, that little Ariadne within. The one who is giving us a sword and a thread so that we can go downwards and forwards.
The answer lies in trusting Arthur. In knowing that G-d has a plan, and that even when he hides his revelation from us, even when it seems like everything is going wrong, that we are on the straight and narrow.
The answer, Chassids, is in our souls.