[Insert standard disclaimer how I am writing this post late at night just after watching the movie and therefore it’s biased and most likely does not reflect my opinions in the future.]

If you have not watched Inside Out, I can wholeheartedly recommend doing so at your earliest convenience. I like the movie not just for the reasons I will get to shortly after this literarily necessary introduction. It’s very enjoyable even if you don’t read anything into it. Want a movie recommendation for what you whippersnappers call “Netflix and chill”? Then watch Inside Out… if it were on Netflix.

Like many, I enjoy any movie with sufficiently high production values, but “liking” is another category with tougher entrance criteria. Inside Out manages to do so by providing a valuable analogy for how I (we?) think. I’m not claiming that anything in the movie is accurate. Remember the person in the cinema constantly sighing and rolling their eyes? Probably a psychologist/neurologist.

However, in the absence of memorable analogies for my own thought processes and inner workings of my brain, the emotions-drive-us-but-memories-define-who-we-are abstraction made itself comfortable in my brain seconds after the credits rolled. As I was walking from the cinema to my home, I was in the usual movie euphoria that always grips me after watching a good movie. But instead of walking around in one of the common power fantasies or constructing fictional worlds and how I’d rule them, I found myself imagining what a scene of the movie in my head would look like.

Take for example a situation where I encountered two men standing around at a corner not far from the cinema. Looking back now, I can easily imagine what happens in that would-be movie scene: As I observe the men, Fear recognizes that 1.) it’s dark, 2.) these persons are lingering and 3.) we are in an area not under any surveillance. So now Fear and Anger are both at the console, mentally preparing for what could kinda, maybe, possibly happen. My attention focuses on the men, I tense up and shift into a walking pattern where I can quickly move without tripping on the somewhat slippery floor.

At the same time, Joy jumps around trying to push various buttons to make me realize that while a conflict is possible, it is statistically unlikely and I should not falsely accuse these men of bad intentions, causing Disgust to throw in a remark about how stupid all other people are. Dunno what Sadness is doing.

After I passed the two men, and predictably nothing happened, Joy can then pull an I-told-you-so and the memory, a mix of fear and anger, get’s passed along the machinery. Again, while this is certainly not an accurate depiction of what is actually happening in my brain, it is sufficient to make me reflect at all. If I just walk around constantly thinking “Well, I have no idea how my mind works. Isn’t life mysterious? Let’s call up the fu-”, then what’s the point of reflection? Maybe I can find better analogies or even the occasional almost-fact where I can pinpoint a particular thought or action to an exact process (usually fallacies and mind-traps). But for the Greater Picture, Inside Out has just handed me the rough draft for The Theory Of My Mind. A draft can be refined, a blank page cannot.

There was another situation in the cinema with our favorite social nemesis, the movie-cellphone-talker. Disgust driving, but Sadness recognizing that it might be an actually important phone call, Anger pushing random buttons, Fear and Joy playing cards. I probably should not start picking my life apart situation by situation, turning everything into animated movie scenes, but I feel that I now can analyze myself much better than before.

So in conclusion, that’s why Inside Out is not just a good movie but a great one and you should totally watch it. I will also gladly accept any scorning replies how totally wrong I am and why I have poisoned my mind with false crap.

TL;DR: Inside Out depicts not-to-wrongly how my mind works and I now can apply this to situations of my life for improved introspection.