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To my understanding, in order to go to Limbo one basically has to die within I dream while being sedated such that one cannot wakeup, thus the mind has to remain somewhere else. But did the movie mention anywhere how and when Cobb and Mal ended up in Limbo? Weren't they simply dreaming around like everyone else? I can understand that an extraction gone wrong could have you killed in-dream while sedated, but it seems the two of them were dreaming together without any other (lethal) party involved...

  • I recall that they were "experimenting". – Valorum Jul 19 '15 at 19:22
  • @Richard Oh dear, that's never a good idea ;) I slightly remember that having been stated, but at that time I thought Cobb referred to experimenting with what can be done in the dreams, not drugs. But it might be an explanation, though it seems to be implicit then... – Zommuter Jul 19 '15 at 19:24
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Mal and Cobb appear to have been experimenting with the PASIV machine, trying to create dreams within dreams, presumably as part of their plans to go into business stealing corporate secrets.

What they evidently failed to realise was that it's possible to go so deep into the subconscious of a dreamer that it becomes almost impossible to get out:

COBB: We were on a job. Exploring dreams within dreams. But we didn’t understand how your mind can turn hours into years. How you can get trapped. Trapped so deep that when you wash up on the shore of your subconscious… - Inception: The Shooting Script

Ultimately Cobb was able (using inception) to convince Mal to escape at the same time as him by committing a simultaneous suicide on the railway. This allowed them to return to reality without either being left behind in Limbo.

  • That was quick! Good point, given the time stretching factor 12 here one night real-world sleep (ca 8 hours) are already over 200 years on level four... But that wiki link makes me wonder how that can work with the limited battery time – Zommuter Jul 19 '15 at 19:48
  • I think you can help me with this query. When Cobb and Saito were in limbo, cobb realized he was in Limbo because of the spinning totem. But how did cobb realized he was in limbo, when he and mal were stuck there? And in case it was becaue Cobb did that by spinning the totem there too, then he should have been very confident to get into limbo... he should be not scared that if anyone dies in the mission, he can go to limbo and not forget that he is still dreaming. – Biman Tripathy Dec 20 '15 at 19:29
  • @BimanTripathy - OK, I've got the answer. Are you wanting to ask it as a proper site question or would you just like me to tell you? – Valorum Dec 20 '15 at 19:40
  • @Richard link to the question: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/111386/… – Biman Tripathy Dec 20 '15 at 20:27

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