Category: Philosophy Essay

Life of Pi

Why all people in the world can be subdivided into two groups – those who believe in God and those who do not? This challenging question has raised debates among thinkers and philosophers throughout the centuries, and it continues to capture minds of society. Nowadays, there are a lot of scientific and fiction literature as well as motion pictures which consider the particular issue and provide people with certain theories, suggestions, and information to ponder on. Nevertheless, among the variety of available resources, there is one movie that deserves to be watched and discussed, and it is called Life of Pi. The movie tells an unbelievable and mysterious adventure of a young man, whose faith and strength helped him to survive. Life of Pi is a thrilling movie that captures the audience from the first second. It is not a light story for one evening. On the contrary, Ann Lee’s work forces people to think about important things and find out the answers for themselves. Therefore, Life of Pi demonstrates the importance of faith in God’s existence as well as underlines the meaning of human life and actions which are already ensured and created by God.

It is of first priority to analyze whether this movie confirms or simplifies the existence of God. Does God exist? Regarding different life circumstances, even a deeply religious person asks himself or herself the above-mentioned question. At the beginning of the story, its main hero, Piscine Molitor Patel, appears as a young boy who tries to find out the answers to his questions concerning life and his destiny through the three dominant religions, which are Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam. While his father, a stubborn atheist relying only on the science, gives harsh life lessons to his sons and teaches them to believe in facts only, Pi’s mother supports son’s searches for himself. Being inspired by a mother’s belief, Pi starts his own journey into religion choosing three world faiths at once. The boy is falling deeply into them, curiously wondering whether there is an underlying moral structure of the universe and meaning in human life. Although young Pi prays, investigates each religion, and talks to the priest, he will get real answers to his questions only by dealing the most difficult challenges in his life.

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The philosophical importance of the movie begins to emerge when young Pi together with his family gets into the storm. Eventually, the youngster stays alone with wild animals in the small boat. Being deeply intrigued by traits of people and animals, Pi is going to investigate not only himself and his companion Richard Parker but also almighty love and power of God. According to Descartes, “If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things”. Thereby, the truth can be found only by weighing all the pros and cons and doubting. Furthermore, the young hero is a believer who uses his rational intellect in order to look at life deeper than anyone else can. His imagination gets him to unbelievable places. Nevertheless, an entirely rational life cannot worth living because things that nobody can prove or see make people believe in them. Thus, faith can be regarded as a bridge between rational fact and groundless emotion. The opportunity to believe is a sign of awareness and consciousness that are the two reasons why people so deeply protect and wildly practice religions all over the world.

To Pi, God is in everything – animals, plants, sunshine, early mornings, and every human being. Even the reason why he goes out of the cabin is to look at God: He is manifested through the severe storm which eventually causes shipwreck and death of his family. In this respect, Pi’s curiosity and deep faith in things he cannot prove but believe in are key components to his salvation. According to Socrates, “True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us”. In this regard, Pi’s adventure helps him to understand that life is a challenge and only faith will help him to survive. Moreover, life is unjust as it tests people letting them undergo through unbelievable trials in order to tempt them. Believing in God’s power and will, Pi becomes more connected to the world around him, and thus more alive. This faith helps him to fight not only for himself but also for the nearest one, Bengal tiger. Thereby, belief in something gives structure to human understanding of the universe and people’s place in it.

At the same time, the narrator (Pi himself) proposes the writer another variant of the story replacing animals by people and allows him to choose the variant he likes the most. This particular episode is pretty philosophical because it demonstrates the completeness of human faith. Although it is hard to believe in the story of Pi where he is forced to coexist with wild animals and then Bengal tiger, the audience chooses to believe in this variant rather than in brutal cannibalistic people.

Descartes stated:

I suppose therefore that all things I see are illusions; I believe that nothing has ever existed of everything my lying memory tells me. I think I have no senses. I believe that body, shape, extension, motion, location is functions. What is there then that can be taken as true? Perhaps only this one thing, that nothing at all is certain.

Therefore, everything in the world is doubtful and it is the most beautiful that can be. The question of why the viewer chooses such a variant of the story remains open. At the same time, Pi provides the audience with the hint asking the writer “Which version do you prefer?” and then answering “And so it goes with God”. People presume this variant of reality to be true because it is simpler to believe in the story of fight and cooperation between the man and tiger than in people-cannibals who kill each other. This faith gives people the reason not to surrender before obstacles and life challenges but to fight and survive. Life deprived of mystery and passion loses its joy and spirit of adventure.

Therefore, every person will choose his or her own answer to the question of God’s existence. Although Life of Pi provides the audience with the information that there is an underlying moral structure and meaning in human life showing Pi’s miseries and struggle, it allows the viewer to decide which story to believe in, and thus to make a choice concerning religion. Personally, I believe that people do not create meaning of life with their own actions and interpretations. It is obvious that every person makes choices, but every choice leads to the path that God prepared for that person to follow. Thus, God already ensured and created a life for every human being in the world, and our task is to follow it. Human choice cannot change his or her destiny; it only shortens or lengthens way to the already created final point. Life of Pi is a strong movie since it demonstrates that there is a meaning in everything. Pi himself taught me that there is nothing impossible if you desperately believe in God and there is unnecessary to prove anything because faith is enough to survive.