The Lifelong Quest for Sobriety…The Ultimate Hero’s Journey—Part 53

Guest Blogger and long-time Council friend, Bob W. presents Part 53 of a series dealing with Alcoholism and Addiction from a Mystical, Mythological Perspective, reflecting Bob’s scholarly work as a Ph.D. in mythological studies.

The 2010 movie, Inception, portrays the activities of two thieves, Dom, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, and Arthur, played by Joseph Gordon Levitt, who are “extractors,” performing corporate espionage using an experimental military technology to obtain information by infiltrating the subconscious of corporate execs.  They execute their craft by establishing a shared dream platform in their targets’ minds.  Dom has been successful in this practice to such an extent that he believes he can also embed information and ideas in targets to cause them to accept something or do something they would otherwise reject.  In fact, he has been accused of the murder of his wife because he embedded her with an idea that resulted in her demise, and he has been a fugitive of such crime living in various places outside the U.S. ever since.

In the firm, his beliefs in this regard approach the level of grandiosity, maybe even a growing grandiosity that is quite familiar to many of us inflicted with the disease of alcoholism.

A Japanese businessman hires Dom and Arthur to perform this advanced procedure on a business rival. This client offers to hire Dom with the promise that he can remove any connection Dom has with his wife’s disappearance and the alleged crime, allowing Dom to return to the U.S. and be with his children.

In the film, the evolution of the scheme to accomplish this feat becomes incredibly intricate and complex and there are many hiccups as they work through the execution thereof.  Dom has not been entirely straight with Arthur and the members of their team of operatives about the possible pitfalls of the procedure they have designed. As the movie unfolds, the complications become more and more intricate, but it is only in the clear headed advice and hard direction of Ariadne, another member of the team, that Dom finally makes the adjustments for the whole scheme to be successful. In the end, he achieves his best outcome and is re-united with his kids.

How fascinating it is that this particular team member is called Ariadne.  Played by Ellen Page, it is Ariadne who provides the path to the solution in the movie.  Ariadne was also the character in an ancient Greek myth, the daughter of King Minos of Crete who gives Theseus the means to kill the Minotaur and escape from the Labyrinth.  Ariadne had given Theseus a sword and a bunch of twine as he was being led into the Labyrinth to be eaten by the Minotaur.  Theseus used the twine (Ariadne’s Thread) to mark his course into the Labryrinth and the sword to kill the Minotaur. 

The Thread was then the means he used to find his way back to the opening.    DiCaprio’s performance in playing Dom, and the process of misinformation he uses to manipulate everyone, is very resonant with this alcoholic.  How many times in our disease did we create a complex web of lies and deceit to accomplish some idiotic goal that had very little useful purpose except to feed our disease…and how many times was there an Ariadne, and, ultimately, a group of Ariadnes, to guide us to the opening of an ultimate path to Recovery.