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Matthew Edlund, M.D.

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'Inception': 9 Surprising Sleep Facts From the Movie (PHOTOS)

Posted: 07/21/10 08:00 AM ET

"Am I a man dreaming I'm a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming I'm a man?" Chuang Tzu asked 2,300 years ago. In Christopher Nolan's stylish sleep thriller "Inception" he answers we're both -- butterfly and man.

Yet the science behind Inception is more surreal than the film, whose lovingly layered plot still underplays the wonderfully weird wildness of dreams. So, dream thief Mr. Cobb, what about your job is science fiction and what's science?

(Spoiler alert: plot elements are revealed)

Is Time Altered In Our Dreams?
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Does time speed up in dreams so that 10 minutes "outside" becomes an hour during the dream? Yes, but not like in the movie, where time geometrically and precisely expands with the dream's depth. We can do far more. In real dreams infinite time may occur within seconds of "outside" time.
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But I could be wrong. We may need to wait for Neo to return in a fourth Matrix film, and tell us whether Inception is a movie or just another computer simulation playing inside our consciousness.

Or we can sleep on it.


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