The movie “Inception” is not about fear (that is Batman), but what relevant is the act of incepting an idea into the mind. Before we continue, I wish to inform you that “Inception” is a great movie and I am putting a lot of SPOILERS here. Please watch the movie before you continue reading!
I shall start with the scene of Saito recruiting Cobb.
Throughout the story, they talked about various difficulties of performing an inception on an adult. However all those resistance dissolves when you do it on a child, which is what we often do. When children don’t listen, we tell them that if they don’t follow our advice, the sky is going to fall down (or something of that sort, and yes I’m being a bit sarcastic, because the sky is never going to fall down). We perform an inception of fear on them.
Under some circumstances, teenagers start to rebel because somehow they intuitively realised that this kind of persuasion stops working as the adult and child relationship becomes weaker(of course, I am assuming that in real life you can’t find people like Cobb to do it). We often label them “rebellious” but to me, they just have the good instincts to protect themselves.
The irony is when the bond between the adult and the child is strong, the side effects of “the sky is falling down” is also the strongest. The child may not be able to “trace the genesis of the idea”, unable to judge when the circumstances has changed, and do not know that there are indeed more options to react than with worry or fear.
When a child do something because he is afraid that the sky is going to fall down, when will he stop? This next clip is the scene showing Mal, unable to judge that the circumstances has changed.
The last clip is the ending of the movie, when Cobb went to search for Saito who was lost several levels deep inside the subconscious(Limbo). There, Saito became “an old man, filled with regrets, waiting to die alone”.
You may remember from the first clip, how Saito initially persuaded Cobb, “Do you want to take a leap of faith? Or become an old man, filled with regrets, waiting to die alone?” I find it interesting that Saito was actually persuading Cobb with what he himself is most afraid of. Maybe that is what we always do. When we are persuading children, we are just passing on our fear to them.