Thursday, April 01, 2010

The Life of Pi

I thought about writing a lengthy April Fools Post, but that seems out of place in a blog that's been so infrequent in the updates. It would have been fun to tell the story about outing myself to the general assembly of the American Medical Association to battle the political bullcrap that slides by in that House, but that may come true one of these days, so I'll save that one up. :-)

No, instead I wanted to post a quickie about a book I just finished called the Life of Pi. It's a pretty popular book, so many people have probably already read it. I can't really discuss the interesting aspects of it without a spoiler, so if you're planning to read it, you'll have to stop reading this post now or risk me ruining it all.

Pi is an Indian boy who grew up around animals in his family-run zoo. When they decide to move to Canada and take their animals with them, Pi ends up the only human survivor of the shipwreck and finds himself aboard a lifeboat with an untamed tiger. He survives for months and most of the book tells the details of how he manages it. After being rescued, inspectors from the ship's company question him to determine what caused the ship to sink. They do not believe his story about the tiger and demand another explanation. He tells a parallel story that includes cannibalism, murder, his mother being beheaded by an evil man, etc. He points out that the inspectors have no way of knowing which of the stories is actually true and asks which of the stories they prefer. They say the one with the animals, and Pi responds, "so it is with God."

Earlier in the book Pi had become Hindu, Muslim, and Christian simultaneously, showing that he loved God and didn't dwell on the factual reality of any of the faiths. This seems silly in some ways and so wise in another.

The story impacts me personally because I've recently felt so acutely the same option in my beliefs. Given two stories that can be neither proven or disproven, I've chosen to believe in God. So, yeah. So it is with God.