I watched Inception, and it furthered my understanding of sensation and perception by "planting the idea in my brain" that you will never know what true reality is. In the movie, Leonardo's wife, Mal, believes her reality is real, while Leonardo believes a different reality is real. There's really no way of knowing who is correct. Our brain trusts the sensory information that is delivered to it. It also naturally predicts other stimuli when it might in fact not even exist (like the example of us assuming that as we turn our backs on an empty room, everything remains the same), and we believe that as well. How do we know that it all is real, and that every sensation we feel is actually caused by something outside of our own selves, and not just made up and projected "out" of ourselves by our own brains? This movie points out that because people may have different realities (as indicated in the ending scene when it never shows whether the top keeps spinning or not, as well as Mal and Leonardo not having the same "reality"), all of the world that we perceive and believe as reality might all be a thought up in our own brains.
After watching Inception, I feel like I fully realize one simple concept: the world we live in is our own creation. That is, that everything we see, every action we perform, and everything we hold to be true is completely subject to our own personal biases. I saw this particularly through the eyes of Dom Cobb, the protagonist in Inception.
His line of work involves stealing information from powerful people through their subconscious, information they themselves may not even have access too. His reality is confused; the understanding of the world he currently is in has been changed so many times he no longer knows whether or not he lives in a conscious state or in a dream. As his wife Mol points out in one of the later scenes in the movie, when they are both in the "deepest" dream state which they created together, his life is, in a way, dreamlike. He is chased around the globe by these powerful people to either help him extract information or to get revenge for his failure to do so. The only way he knows he is in reality is when a special spinning top he keeps with him falls after he spins it; in a dream, it constantly spins.
His perception of the world around him is very unclear, which I'm guessing is a stylistic choice the director made. There were times throughout the film that I questioned which reality he was in.
The way we, as human being perceive our world in incredibly limited, making it hard for us to know what’s going on most of the time. The reality we know is based off of our five senses: touch, sight, smell, taste, and hearing. But in this modern world of ours, all five of those are replicable, even in "real life," to the point in which we can't distinguish whether they're the original version or not. As a culture we satisfy ourselves with whatever version we are handed, no matter how cheap it is, as long as it resembles the original. But that's a different matter revolving around our flawed cultural standards, a whole new level of perception I can’t cover in an extra credit assignment.
As Inception outlined, the world we live in is our own creation. Our perception varies from one person to another, from one culture to another. That is what makes each of us unique, and why this is such an incredible film: because it makes us think about bigger questions that broaden our self-awareness.
Inception and The Matrix relate to what we're learning about sensation and perception because they are both about how we perceive the world around us to be real, but really there is no way to tell whether it is. Everything that we accept as reality could just be the product of our brain, after all, without our brain, the sensory information gathered by our senses is useless. Inception is about dreams and it makes the viewer ask themselves what makes the "real" world any more "real" than a dream. The Matrix explores the idea of our world being an illusion, a cover-up of the real world. Both point out that really there is no way to be sure that our world is real. This relates to Descartes' theory "I think therefore I am" which basically says, I know I exist because I can think, but I can't prove that anything outside of my consciousness is real, even my own body.
Hey! I have a joke. do you wanna hear it? Ok, here it goes. "Rene Decartes walks into a McDonald's. He goes up to the employee and orders a burger. They ask him if he would like fries with that. He respnonds 'I think not' and dissapears." Hilarious right? Rene believed that his mind defined his existance. Your welcome. S o I recently watched The Matrix and Inception. And although they definetly wern't as funny as me they still touched on the same ideas of sensation, perception, and reality.“What is real? How do you define real? If you’re talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then real is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain. This is the world that you know.” This is Morpheus’s answer to Neo in The Matrix and the Decarte-ness is almost dripping off it . The entirety of The Matrix revolves around the idea that we sense and percieve reality is fundementally flawd and easily fooled. It also echos what we were saying at the end of clss Friday: we do not percieve the world how it really is, but as it is usefull for us to percieve it. In other words, there is no reality that we can ever know unshaakably IS reality. We only ever know perceptions of it in the form of subjective reality. For me, reality is something both subjective AND objective. What I mean is that objective reality, say the existence of the physical universe, does not necessarily depend on subjectivity to be real. But then, subjective reality, say the experience of an emotion, impulse or dream, doesn't necessarily depend on objective reality for its existence. The subjective world is as real as the objective world. Both have their own reality. One is not "more real" than the other. But when subjectivity trumps objectivity, or vice-versa, we get into trouble. I mean, just look at Cobb, Leonardo DiCaprio's character in Inception. People in his line of work are so wary of sensation and perception becasue they know (like us students of Psychology) that sensation and perception do not always mean reality and thus can never PROVE reality (yes, by the way, I just equated myself to Leonardo DiCaprio. Except I'm obviously better looking). Mal is a victim of this enlightenment and commits suicide becuase she is so distrusting of her sensory perceptions. She chooses her subjective reality over Cobb's subjective reality.
If Rene Decartes were able to sift through modern movies, I think that he would be incredibly intrigued by our reinterpretations and cultural fasination in sensation vs. perception vs. reality. And what a fasination it is: Inception is the 57th highest grossing mvie of all time while The Matrix sits comfortably at 42! But although they are completely diferent in many senses (get it, 'senses'?!), they both deal directly with the tools that enable us to trust our realities: sensation and perception.
What makes both so poweful is where they draw up that small nagging feeling in the futhest resesses of your mind. You block it out because you like to think of yourself as a sane person.Yet, it still whispers one idea to you: how can you be sure? You can't. So you don't really know, do you?
"No creeping doubts? Not feeling persecuted? Admit it: you don't believe in one reality anymore. So choose. Choose to be here. Choose me.” (Inception)
"That there is something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad." (The Matrix)
"She was possessed by an idea, this one, very simple idea, that changed everything.That our world wasn't real. That she needed to wake up to come back to reality." (Inception)
I watched The Matrix, which heightened my understanding of sensation and perception in a few different ways. First of all, (SPOILERS!!) Neo, a computer hacker, realizes that he has just been perceiving his life, instead of actually sensing it. Neo figures out that for his entire life, he has lived in a pod of goo that keeps him alive. His electrical impulses are harvested by aliens and used to power "The Matrix." Anything he has ever sensed, has actually only been in his mind. I thought that this was interesting because it posed the question: are we actually sensing what we are thinking we are sensing? Another interesting concept from this movie was the character Cypher. Cypher, who learned the truth about this Matrix, betrays the rebels to their suppressors. For Cypher, the truth is too painful for him, and he would rather live in a state of contented ignorance, than a state of painful reality. This was really interesting to me, because I felt that was a very true statement. In many instances, people have chosen to do what is wrong, because it is easier and more comfortable. A mass state of ignorance is easy to manipulate and influence, which may explain how many crimes against humanity have gone un-prevented . For these reasons, I thought that watching The Matrix was really fascinating—especially from a psychological perspective.
Great job relating the movies to the core concepts of Sensation and Perception. I'm really impressed by your insightful and thoughtful responses. I thought you may want to check out what Descartes actually wrote as it is foundational to the ideas expressed here. Here are links to Meditations and Discourses, both works contain the famous quote and I find Meditations a little better in explaining its meaning. Here's a snippet:
"Like a prisoner who dreams that he is free, starts to suspect that it is merely a dream, and wants to go on dreaming rather than waking up, so I am content to slide back into my old opinions; I fear being shaken out of them because I am afraid that my peaceful sleep may be followed by hard labour when I wake, and that I shall have to struggle not in the light but in the imprisoning darkness of the problems I have raised."
and here's an excerpt from Discourse on Method:
I love how the first link is for a Marxist website.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.