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explain the totem

a totem is something to remind you are in reality or in someone else dream. Let's take Arthur's dice as an example, he told Ariadne that he did something to the dice and not letting Ariadne touch it. This is to ensure Arthur is the only person know how the dice works. If Arthur is in Ariadne's dream, Ariadne has no idea how the dice works which Arthur can identify it since he is the only person who knows the dice work. If Ariadne knows how the dice works, Arthur will not able to judge it by using the dice and he will trap in Ariadne's dream.

And we can see how this goes wrong when Cobb causes Mal's totem to spin. If Mal went to check on her totem, and discovered it was spinning when she never touched it, then how can she be sure if the reality she was in (limbo) was not someone else's dream? If it were a dream of her creation or reality, then the top would have fallen. Now that it's spinning, she believes that she must be in someone else's dream or that the world she inhabits is not the true one.

So, say Adriane were to touch Arthur's dice and know the weight and balance of that dice. Well, if Arthur threw the dice in Adriane's dream, knowing it was weighted and would always roll in a particular way and land on a specific number, and if Adriane ALSO knew which number it was supposed to land on without Arthur knowing that she knows... Then Adriane could force the dice to land on that specific number and roll the exact way the dice is suppose to while Arthur is in her dream. This would likely destroy Arthur's ability to verify that he was not in someone else's dream, or in his own dream, or in reality.

Anon_285 commented 2010-08-08 07:20:26 UTC
The totem is a unique object that the individual can use to determine whether everything is reality or still a dream. No one else should touch the totem besides the owner.
Anon_197 asked the question 2010-08-08 11:02:26 UTC view / hide
Anon_287 commented 2010-08-08 12:21:42 UTC
a totem is something to remind you are in reality or in someone else dream. Let's take Arthur's dice as an example, he told Ariadne that he did something to the dice and not letting Ariadne touch it. This is to ensure Arthur is the only person know how the dice works. If Arthur is in Ariadne's dream, Ariadne has no idea how the dice works which Arthur can identify it since he is the only person who knows the dice work. If Ariadne knows how the dice works, Arthur will not able to judge it by using the dice and he will trap in Ariadne's dream.
Anon_288 commented 2010-08-08 14:51:52 UTC
And we can see how this goes wrong when Cobb causes Mal's totem to spin. If Mal went to check on her totem, and discovered it was spinning when she never touched it, then how can she be sure if the reality she was in (limbo) was not someone else's dream? If it were a dream of her creation or reality, then the top would have fallen. Now that it's spinning, she believes that she must be in someone else's dream or that the world she inhabits is not the true one.

So, say Adriane were to touch Arthur's dice and know the weight and balance of that dice. Well, if Arthur threw the dice in Adriane's dream, knowing it was weighted and would always roll in a particular way and land on a specific number, and if Adriane ALSO knew which number it was supposed to land on without Arthur knowing that she knows... Then Adriane could force the dice to land on that specific number and roll the exact way the dice is suppose to while Arthur is in her dream. This would likely destroy Arthur's ability to verify that he was not in someone else's dream, or in his own dream, or in reality.
Anon_289 commented 2010-08-08 15:58:50 UTC
A mi no me nadie para que nadie me ningune ni tampoco me ninguno para que nadie me tambien.
Anon_291 commented 2010-08-08 19:13:39 UTC
Consider the carpet in Saito's apartment. When he fell on it he could feel that the material was wrong. This alerted him to the dream state, that it was someone elses dream. Because the details were wrong he could tell it was a dream. He does fail to realize that this means he's in someone elses dream though. 

So each of the team have a totem which they alone are familiar with. If someone else dreams a version of the totem then any mistakes will act to indicate the falsehood. Saito knew he was in a dream because there was an incorrect detail, in what was a unintended totem. If a detail were wrong in the chess piece, the loaded die, the poker chip or Mal's spinning top then that would inform the owner that they were in a dream.    
Anon_291 commented 2010-08-08 19:14:12 UTC
Consider the carpet in Saito's apartment. When he fell on it he could feel that the material was wrong. This alerted him to the dream state, that it was someone elses dream. Because the details were wrong he could tell it was a dream. He does fail to realize that this means he's in someone elses dream though. 

So each of the team have a totem which they alone are familiar with. If someone else dreams a version of the totem then any mistakes will act to indicate the falsehood. Saito knew he was in a dream because there was an incorrect detail, in what was a unintended totem. If a detail were wrong in the chess piece, the loaded die, the poker chip or Mal's spinning top then that would inform the owner that they were in a dream.    
Anon_124 provided an answer 2010-08-10 01:12:13 UTC view / hide

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