Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Life of Pi

"I know what you want. You want a story that won't surprise you. That will confirm what you already know. That won't make you see higher or further or differently. You want a flat story. An immobile story."

ZERA wins

I'll be noting on Facebook in the future.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

So you want another story?

“But for the purposes of our investigation, we would like to know what really happened.”

“What really happened?”


“So you want another story?”

“Uhh… no. We would like to know what really happened.”

“Doesn’t the telling of something always become a story?”

“Uhh… perhaps in English. In Japanese a story would have an element of invention in it. We don’t want any invention. We want the ’straight facts’, as you say in English.”

“Isn’t telling about something– using words, English or Japanese– already something of an invention? Isn’t just looking upon this world already something of an invention?

“The world isn’t just the way it is. It is how we understand it, no? And in understanding something, we bring something to it, no? Doesn’t that make life a story?”

(Life of Pi, p. 302). Stolen from / typed/ selection cut by La Gitana de la Valle

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Life of Pi

I just finished The Life of Pi, and had a lot of fun with it, left it very disrupted and disturbed. It's early treatment of religion is so much fun though. Pi, a teenage Indian boy, asks a priest he meets about the Christian faith. (Selection stolen from Andrew Gray)

The first thing that drew me in was disbelief. What? Humanity sins but it’s God’s Son who pays the price?….

I asked for another story, one that I might find more satisfying…But Father Martin made me understand the stories that came before it–and there were many–were simply prologue….

That a god should put up with adversity, I could understand. The gods of Hinduism face their fair share of thieves, bullies, kidnappers, and usurpers. What is the Ramayana but the accoiunt of one long, bad year for Rama? Adversity, yes. Reversals of fortune, yes. Treachery, yes. But humiliation? Death? I couldn’t imagine Lord Krishna consenting to be stripped naked, whipped, mocked, dragged through the streets and, to top it off, crucified–and at the hands of mere humans, to boot…

Why not leave death to mortals? Why make dirty what is beautiful, spoil what is perfect? Love. That was Father Martin’s answer….

This son…who goes hungry, who suffers from thirst, who gets tired, who is sad, who is anxious, who is heckled and harassed, who has to put up with followers that don’t get it and opponents who don’t respect Him–what kind of god is that? It’s a god on too human of a scale, that’s what. There are miracles, yes, mostly of a medical nature, a few to satisfy hungry stomachs; at best a storm is tempered…Any Hindu god can do a hundred times better.This Son is a god who spent most of His time telling stories, talking. This Son is a god who walked, a pedestrian god–and in a hot place, at that–with a stride like any human stride…What kind of a god is that? What is there to inspire in this Son? Love, said Father Martin….

I’ll stick to my Krishna, thank you very much. I find his divinity utterly compelling. You can keep your sweaty, chatty Son to yourself. That was how I met that troublesome rabbi of long ago: with disbelief and annoyance….

He bothered me, this Son. Every day I burned with greater indignation against Him, found more flaws in him…

On our last day, a few hours before we were to leave Munnar, I hurried up the hill on the left…I booted up that hill…Short of breath I said, “Father, I would like to be a Christian, please.” He smiled, “You already are, Piscine–in your heart. Whoever meets Christ in good faith is a Christian. Here in Munnar you met Christ.” He patted me on the head…I thought I would explode with joy…It was a good smile he gave me. The smile of Christ.

I entered the church, without fear this time, for it was now my house, too. I offered prayers to Christ who is alive. Then I raced down the hill on the left and raced up the hill on the right–to offer thanks to Lord Krishna for having put Jesus of Nazareth, whose humanity I found so compelling, in my way.