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"Who knows whether the other half of our life, in which we think we are awake, is not another sleep a little different from the former, from which we awake when we suppose ourselves asleep? And who doubts that, if we dreamt in company, and the dreams chanced to agree, which is common enough, and if we were always alone when awake, we should believe that matters were reversed?
In short, as we often dream that we dream, heaping dream upon dream, may it not be that this half of our life, wherein we think ourselves awake, is itself only a dream, on which others are grafted, from which we wake at death…."
~ Blaise Pascal, Pensees
It's tempting to think that the immensely gifted film director Christopher Nolan derived his premise for Inception – multi-layered dreams within dreams orchestrated by teams of "extractors" who are nimble in the dark arts of psychological manipulation – from Blaise Pascal's 17th Century philosophical tract. In any case, there are many points of correspondence between "Inception" and the similarly elaborate exercise in collective delusion and artful deception called the "American Dream."
At its most accessible level, Nolan’s story is about a team of industrial espionage agents, led by a tormented man named Dominic Cobb, who employ shared dreaming technology (originally developed for the military, of course) to steal corporate secrets from the subconscious minds of people while they sleep. Cobb and his "extractors" were hired by an Asian corporate mogul named Saito to perform an “inception” – that is, planting an idea in the subconscious mind of Robert Fischer, a man who stood to inherit a vast energy corporation. Fischer would thus be manipulated into breaking up the company; this would be to the benefit of Saito, who owned a rival corporation.
This scheme required the creation of a multi-layered dream "architecture," and the deep sedation of Fischer in order for the dream state to remain stable long enough to plant the desired suggestion.
In the dream state, laws of logic and physics don't operate as they do in the physical world. This is why deep sedation was necessary to keep a target "under" and drive him into a progressively deeper dream state.
Often the "extractors" would appear in the targeted individual's dreams, and sometimes one of them would "expose" the other in order to build confidence in the victim and thus gain more intimate access to his subconscious.
Those who invaded Fischer's mind through shared dreaming could be brought out of the dream state either by being “killed” in the dream (which would wake them up immediately) or through a series of synchronized "kicks.” These are sudden, violent jolts – such as driving a car off a cliff, or falling from a building – that cause a dreaming person to awaken involuntarily. Those who don't respond to the "kicks” may descend into "limbo," an inaccessibly deep subconscious level in which the individual loses his ability to distinguish dreaming from reality, remaining there until physical death occurs.
Losing the ability to recognize objective reality is the most acute hazard of working as an “extractor.” This is why Cobb and each of his colleagues carries a “totem” – a tangible object with a distinctive weight and balance that only the owner will recognize. Cobb’s totem is a small metal top that, if spun by its waking owner, will topple over. If it continues spinning indefinitely, Cobb will realize that he’s dreaming. Cobb’s totem, incidentally, is the key to decrypting Nolan’s story.
An idea that is “incepted” (that term appears to be a neologism of Nolan’s coinage) into a dreaming person’s subconscious mind can continue to grow and expand in the individual’s waking state. Cobb made this sorrowful discovery after performing an “inception” on his wife Mallorie, a professional colleague who became addicted to living in their shared dream state. He planted in her mind the idea that her real life was actually a dream; that idea persisted in her waking state, eventually leading Mallorie to commit suicide in the futile hope of “waking” up in the dream world she idealized.
“What is the most resilient parasite?” Cobb muses at one point. “Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient – highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it’s almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed – fully understood – that sticks; right in there [gesturing at his head] somewhere.” As he had learned, this can have tragic – and even fatal – consequences.
This principle is more than just a clever dramatic device. It is made vivid and palpable as the Power Elite’s “dream architecture” collapses all around us.
The "inception" responsible for the current system of institutionalized delusion was the creation of the Federal Reserve System, the Regime's official counterfeiting arm. The Fed infected the world economy with the idea that wealth can be created ex nihilo by fiat money “dream architects.”
In the real world, currency – gold and silver – were tangible substances with specific characteristics that made them valuable and impossible to counterfeit. The pseudo-world created by the Fed, however, is one in which the laws of economics appear to be suspended, meaning that “wealth” and “value” can be conjured into existence simply by emitting more paper, or doing the equivalent in the digital realm.
Creation of a central bank was necessary in order to permit the Regime’s “extractor class” to slip the shackles of hard currency. This eventually led to FDR’s confiscation of gold in 1933, and to the Nixon administration’s final repudiation of the gold standard in 1971.
It was during the reign of FDR, America’s first Fascist President-for-Life, that the ruling elite “incepted” the idea of that the federal government is an indispensable partner in helping citizens achieve the “American Dream.” Thus the Regime unveiled the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, which was supposedly intended to expand the ranks of home ownership. Through the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Fannie Mae), the government purchased mortgages issued to low-income Americans. Those mortgages, in turn, were bundled into marketable securities and vended to others willing to participate in the shared delusion.
In 1968, amid a torrential outpouring of red ink resulting from the Vietnam War and the Great Society welfare programs, Lyndon Johnson “privatized” Fannie Mae in order to move it "off-budget." This is possible, once again, because the laws of economics don't operate in the "reality" created by the Federal Reserve. In 1970, the Nixon administration created a second federally subsidized lender, Freddie Mac, supposedly to compete with Fannie Mae. But like the "extractors" play-acting in Fischer's subconscious in "Inception," Fannie and Freddie were part of the same government-created debt cartel, working to prolong and deepen the societal fraud called the residential real estate market.
In 2003, the first "kick" in the housing market occurred when Fannie and Freddie were forced to disclose billions of dollars in misrepresented earnings. This revelation literally caused their stock price to fall off a cliff. Not to worry, insisted the Fed's dream architects as they injected the market with an even stronger sedative in the form of "liquidity" – that is, inflation. Amid gathering auguries of an impending housing collapse, then-Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan cut the Prime Rate nearly to zero, while simultaneously urging Americans to refinance their Adjustable Rate Mortgages yet again – when they could only "adjust" in one direction.
Millions of home "owners" – a curious term for people who are merely renting houses from the banks that issued the mortgages, and who can still be dispossessed for delinquent taxes even after paying off the note – acted on that perfectly insane advice. This set up a second, more violent "kick" – the collapse of the real estate/mortgage refinance bubble in 2007. That kick was a gentle tap compared to the body blow that was delivered in fall 2008, with the bailout of Bear Stearns, the failure of Lehman Brothers, the implosion of AIG, and the nationalization of Fannie and Freddie.
As layer after layer of artfully wrought deception collapsed, the dream architects grabbed the strongest sedative they could find and emptied the syringe: They had the Fed emit trillions of dollars in fiat "money" to indemnify Wall Street's bad debts, and then began a rampage of "qualitative easing" – another euphemism for inflation – in order to fuel government spending.
The people who orchestrated this deception have been able to ride the "kicks" to safety. In early 2008, Alan Greenspan warned a gathering of Arab financiers in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia that they should divest their dollar-based holdings. Bondholders in China, Russia, and elsewhere have been bailed out by the Fed, often by way of corporate cut-outs or through loans to foreign central banks.
Greece and Italy – in fact, the entire collection of parasitic polities that constitute the “Euro-zone” – are in the queue for another bailout. The domestic element of the “extractor class” is busily at work, as well, devouring everything within their field of vision – as even a cursory examination of public employee pensions and benefits will demonstrate.
In the meantime, despite the best efforts of the dream architects to keep Americans sedated, millions are waking up into a multi-layered nightmare.
Rock star Sammy Hagar of the AARP-qualifying supergroup Chickenfoot – of all the unlikely people – has provided one of the best capsule descriptions of that nightmare-within-a-nightmare. The band’s new single, “Three and a Half Letters (I Need a Job),” takes its lyrics from letters Hagar has received from people desperately looking for work.
“I just returned from Afghanistan – spent four years in the military service,” writes one of Hagar’s correspondents. “I’m 24, strong, and I can’t find work in my hometown. I’m married with one beautiful son – seven months old today. Never had a chance to buy a home. Can’t afford the apartment we’ve been living in. [We’re] moving in with Debbie’s parents, whose home in in foreclosure. Can you help?”
Beyond using their considerable gifts to publicize the plight of the unemployed, how can Hagar and his colleagues help? It should be acknowledged that Hagar is smarter and more honest than most policy-makers, which admittedly isn’t the highest hurdle to jump. As a member of the seminal rock band Montrose thirty-seven years ago, Hagar wrote a song called "Paper Money" lamenting the end of the gold standard and the economic destruction caused by the Regime's fraudulent, worthless, paper currency. A generation after composing that protest song, Hagar is now chronicling the human costs attendant to the unraveling of the fiat money system.
Last summer the air was rent with anguished and hypocritical warnings about the ruin that would ensue if the U.S. government were to “default.” Actually, the default occurred forty years ago, when Washington sundered the last links binding the dollar to gold. We’re now living through the deferred but inevitable consequences of that default.
The dream is collapsing, and reality is re-asserting itself in spite of the strongest sedatives the Keynesian dream architects can deploy. Historical precedent suggests that they will soon prescribe the “Mallorie Option” – inducing mass murder-suicide through war on the assumption that this is the only way we can return to the bewitching dreamland of artificial prosperity.