Mal and Dom

Contains spoilers for the film “Inception”

The Cast:

Dom Cobb [Leonardo Di Caprio]
Mal Cobb [Marion Cotillard]
Dominic [My 4-year-old]*
God [Himself]

Mal’s story

After approximately everyone saying for years what a great film Inception was, Mónica and I finally watched it.  Actually,  it was a pretty good film,  but frankly, most of the “revolutionary” concepts about creating dreams within dreams had already been done in The Matrix.  And, for that matter, in Existenz.  And, if you’re really into your world cinema, in Abre los Ojos well before any of the above.

But there was one thing that stood out in my mind.  It was the description of what the word “Inception” actually meant, and it seemed a far more unique concept, which threaded its way through the plot.  [Enter Dom Cobb (Di Caprio fans, please swoon here) who explains:]

Inception“What’s the most resilient parasite? An Idea.  A single idea from the human mind can build cities. An idea can transform the  world and rewrite all the rules…”

Dom’s understanding of the power of an idea stems from tragedy.  When his wife – Mal – is trapped in a dream, he tries to rescue her by planting the idea that the world around isn’t real.  She prompt;y realises she’s been living in a dream, and wakes up.

But the idea has taken root.  Having woken up, she remains haunted by the idea that she is still dreaming.  The idea shapes the way she perceives everything, until – to wake up – she steps off a window-ledge, leaving behind her two children and a guilt-ridden Dom.

The final scene, however,  leaves us wondering whether maybe, just maybe, Mal was right…

Dom’s story

Different Dom.  Sorry Di Caprio fans.  When my second son, Dominic, was nearing his second birthday, a bizarre series of mouse-clicks resulted in us watching a short documentary about sharks on YouTube.  Dominic was transfixed.  He watched it over and over again.  The next time we had the computer on, he gestured wildly at the screen until, unable to get his message across, he summoned all his efforts to say his first word: Tiburón (or Shark)

By the time he was three, he could correctly distinguish between a great white, a black-tipped reef-shark, a basking shark, a whale shark and a dozen others.  For his fourth birthday, his grandparents bought him a card with an “under the sea” theme.  He identified every creature on it, from an anemone to a hump-backed whale. For his birthday, he requested that we dig up the garden to make a pool for a beluga whale.  Sadly, we had to pass on that one.

The rest of the story

So what does my Dominic have in common with Mal Cobb?  And where the hell am I going with this with my “God’s toddler” hat on?

I started writing this note thinking of Mal’s story.  God never called me to look at my feet and shuffle along through life.  He called me to lift my eyes and look beyond the world I know to a life with him.  I’ve stepped over the line of saying “I believe”, but that’s not the end.  The goal ahead should drive me like the niggling the won’t let Mal go until finally I get there.

[Exit Mal Cobb, your work here is done]

Dominic, like Mal, is driven by an idea which the rest of the world has to bend around.  But its impact is not to drive him to a single action.  Rather it is the daily observations, learnings and actions which take him from a 2-year-old that can barely say Shark, to a four-year-old who can identify as many species as most adults, and will drive him forwards to who-knows-what in the sphere of oceanography.

Likewise, if we get what God is about, we will always be driven to observe with his eyes more than our own; to learn his ways and not the world’s; to “act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God”**

Those who like long words more than fish might want to use words like Justification and Sanctification.  But both are driven by one idea.

An idea that can build cities. An idea that can transform the  world and rewrite all the rules…

© 2012 Paul Brownnutt (Except for the Inception picture and quote)
Creative Commons License
Being God’s Toddler by Paul Brownnutt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

*For the pedants, I started write this when Dominic was four – I do know he is five at the time of publishing!

** Not mine – written by a guy called Micah 2,500 years ago – now out of copyright presumably.  And note how they’re all doing words.