LIFE OF PI - Film and Book

From Yann Martel's "Life of Pi" - the book. Both film and book are well worth seeing. It is about story telling, God, humans, animals and varieties of truth.


To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation. p. 44

... There is Brahman, the world soul, the sustaining frame upon which is woven, warp and weft, the cloth of being, with all its decorative elements of space and time. There is Brahman nirguna, without qualities, which lies beyond understanding, beyond description, beyond approach; with our poor words we sew a suit for it—One, Truth, Unity, Absolute, Ultimate Reality, Ground of Being—and try to make it fit, but Brahman nirguna always bursts the seams. We are left speechless. p. 67

Reading Group Guide:

God, survival and tiger behaviour. It’s hard to imagine a more invigorating combination of discussion topics. We hope that the following questions will enrich your reading of Pi’s fantastic journey. ....

3. In the Author’s Note, Mr. Adirubasamy boldly claims that this story “will make you believe in God”, and the author, after researching and writing the story, agrees. Did Pi’s tale alter your beliefs about God? ...

5. Early in the novel, we discover that Pi majored in religious studies and zoology, with particular interests in a sixteenth-century Kabbalist and the admirable three-toed sloth. In subsequent chapters, he explains the ways in which religions and zoos are both steeped in illusion. Discuss some of the other ways in which these two fields find unlikely compatibility

7. There is a lot of storytelling in this religious novel. Is there a relationship between religion and storytelling? Is religion a form of storytelling? Is there a theological dimension to storytelling

11. In chapter 23, Pi sparks a lively debate when all three of his spiritual advisors try to claim him. At the heart of this confrontation is Pi’s insistence that he cannot accept an exclusively Hindu, Christian or Muslim faith; he can only be content with all three. What is Pi seeking that can solely be attained by this apparent contradiction? Is there something common to all religions? Are they “all the same”? If not, how are they different? Is there a difference between faith and belief? ...

12. What do you make of Pi’s assertion at the beginning of chapter 16 that we are all “in limbo, without religion, until some figure introduces us to God”? Do you believe that Pi’s faith is a response to his father’s agnosticism? ... pp. 365 -367


SKEPTICISM (from D J Grothe - How To Be A "Perfect" Skeptic )

From D J Grothe - How To Be A "Perfect" Skeptic
1. Skepticism is really best when used as a weapon ( on other people) and not as a shield. ... You don't need skepticism to clean up your own thinking.

2. Foster the "Mensa effect". ... I'm a skeptic therefore I'm really smart and therefore I'm right. You're all skeptics therefore you should know that I'm right. ... The skeptics best and most valuable friend. ...

3. (Use a purity test.) You must constantly be vigilant and on guard against others not being pure skeptics or letting woowoo creep into their skepticism. Do not shy away from phrases such as “you are not a true skeptic". ... make sure that your fellow skeptic is pure and not polluted by any belief that does not follow necessarily out of your skepticism that you've adopted.

4. Our enemies ... enemies of reason.... To empathise with the unreasonable, to feel for the unreasonable, to try to figure out why they are there in that place, why they have that lot in life. lowers your defences and weakens your arguments. Empathy weakens your skepticism. ... Show little mercy when it comes to those spouting nonsense. This is especially important when dealing with claims that are central beliefs and very cherished and personally deeply felt. ... As we are skeptics we don't really have any good news to spread.... "Smile. Join our throng. Everything you believe is wrong - and you're an idiot." ...

5. Eschew marketing.... Skeptics should pay no attention to their audiences but only pay attention to the facts because the facts are all that matter. ... facts are a "one size fits all" solution because ... it's the truth at all cost no matter how painful. ... If you do it long enough and loud enough people will buy it. ...

6. Become a left libertarian, vegetarian, gay activist, ... stamp out homophobia ... adopt well-being consequentialism ... like Peter Singer ... Ethical and social issues. ... Skepticism is the way to arrive at the one true answer to any of these questions. ... Tell skeptics to stop focussing on trivial paranormal matters and instead deal with other more important matters like sexual and racial inequality, poverty, class, economics, all the social issues that merit our attention much more than whether a ghost exits ... or even God ...

7. The history of the last 30 years of the skeptics movement is irrelevant and you should really not let it become a distraction to you. ... You don't need to know why ... skeptics have tried to avoid politics ... social issues which they said skeptics might get distracted and divided over. ... There's no meaningful difference, no significant contrast, between skepticism, atheism and humanism. ... they are one and the same. ...

8. Skepticism leads necessarily to atheism. ... If you are not an atheist you can't be a proper skeptic. People like Michael Gardner and others in the history of skepticism who were deists or believed in Spinoza's God or believed in panentheism or pantheism ... they were an anomaly and should not matter at all for contemporary skepticism right now.

9. Our movement, our cause, already has all the spokespeople it needs. ... You fit best in skepticism when you are a consumer of our product rather than competing with us and advancing skepticism on your own. ... If you want to advance skepticism on your own you don't need any expertise or training to do so. ... You just need a deep commitment to the truth and you need ambition and that's all. No special training. It does not take any special expertise to advance skepticism just the commitment of telling other people that they are wrong. ...

10. You are a besieged minority. ... Racial and sexual minorities have had their day in the sun ... now it is our time as skeptics.

11. Skepticism is for us. It is not for everyone. ...

12. Do the exact opposite of every single thing I've said today.



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Endless loops of mental pain
All my whites have blood red stains


Don’t tell me
You know what it’s like

Black dog howling noon to moon
Singing dirges out of tune

Living nightmare in the dark
Getting up without a spark

Faceless gnomes gnaw away
Through the night and through the day

Lifeless eyes peek out at sky
Broken heart lets out a cry

Black dog with anxiety
Forever in my company