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During Yusuf's recruiting for the Inception he's about to show Cobb and the others how his special sedatives work in practice. But right before showing them he hesitates for a short moment:

Yusuf: This I think is a good place to start, I use it every day.

Cobb: What for?

Yusuf: Here, I'll show you...(hesitating)...Perhaps you will not want to see?

Cobb: After you.

It might be that I'm making more out of this than there is to it, but I couldn't wrap my head around why he hesitates, especially since from saying "Perhaps you will not want to see?" it doesn't seem to be his own reservations for a deal with Cobb that are in the way, but Cobb's possible reluctance to look any further, which I don't think Cobb has given any indication for. So why did Yusuf hesitate to shown them his sedative in practice (or rather imply that Cobb would hesitate to see it)?

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2 Answers 2

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It seems to be more a word of warning about the people in his basement and the analogy to heroin addiction in this universe (a room full of unconscious addicts in a grimy basement is very Trainspotting). Yusuf doesn't seem to have any prior connection to Cobb and may assume he doesn't know the full extent of what he's messing with and what it drives people to if they abuse the dreams.

Compare Cobb's reaction with Eames and Saito, who seem much more disturbed by the addicts than Cobb was, which Yusuf seems to pick up on, as he indicates by deferring Saito's question:

Saito: Why do they do it?

Yusuf: Tell him, Mr. Cobb.

Cobb: After a while it becomes the only way you can dream.

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Here’s what I think: Yusuf hesitates to show Cobb because Yusuf is merely one of Cobb’s projections of his own subconscious. And he knows that Cobb thinks he’s in reality so maybe he may not want to see because Cobb may not want to wake up from this dream seeing as he has chosen it to be reality, similar to how his wife wanted to stay in limbo and forget about returning to reality. That’s why the old man in the room with the addicts says “they come to be woken up, the dream has become their reality. Who are you to say otherwise, sir?” Which is implying that Cobb is still dreaming and has chosen this dream as his reality. There are several other subtle hints and clues left in other parts of the film for you to find. Another is when his father played by Michael Cain tells him in his classroom to “come back to reality Dom” and another is various characters saying the phrase “take a leap of faith. Saito first days it to him in the movie, but in a flashback with Mal, she also said “leap of faith” before she jumped out the window. Because when they tried to leave limbo the first time by being killed by the train, they should have only gone up one dream level. Meaning they weren’t back in reality yet, which is why Mal keeps trying to tell Cobb that they are still dreaming and they must kill themselves together again and probably again until they get to reality. But Cobb has chosen to stay in that dream level and accept it as his new reality. That’s why I think Cobb is dreaming during the entire film.

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  • Also I would like to add that the reason Cobb can no longer dream is because he is still in the deep limbo levels of dreaming. And in those deep levels of dreaming there are no more levels to dive deeper into. Hence why he can no longer dream. Jan 29, 2021 at 3:04

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