Life of Pi Life of Pi question

And so it goes with God
Marianne Marianne Jan 20, 2013 02:03AM
Having read this book a while back, then reread it recently and seen the movie, the above quote still had me puzzled. Pi says this when he has told the alternate story to the Japanese officials (to the author in the movie) and then asks which one they prefer. They choose the one with the tiger, he says thank you and then “and so it goes with God”. Discussing it with fellow moviegoers on the way home, one came up with this: just like his story, where neither version makes a difference to the ultimate outcome (ship sank, Pi lost all his family, endured an ordeal, survived), so it is with religion and God. It doesn’t matter which one you choose to follow, as long as the ultimate result is the same: finding and loving God. For me, this was a perfect explanation. What do you think?

my interpretation was that God is a story and if you like that story then go for it but at the end of the day it is just a bed time story to try and chase away the darker aspects of life

U 25x33
Meli I didn't catch the significance of this in the book, but it fascinated me in the movie, something about the way he delivered it. My interpretation is ...more
Aug 14, 2013 05:39PM

To put it utterly simply, and this is just my take on it, this is what those lines conveyed to me :
If faith is but a matter of belief, why not pick the optimistic one.

My interpretation was that this book is about taking a leap of faith.

Do you take the leap of faith (i.e 'go with God') and chose to believe the unbelievable but beautiful story about a boy and the tiger. Or are you cynical and believe the story which shows people descending into savagery - which is unfortunately more plausible!

God is an illusion many of us prefer over the reality.
(No judgment. Everyone has a choice.)

I see this sentence the most deep in the whole movie.
My interpretation was that
"you can choose any story you want to believe.
But the truth is said and it is great.
It is more magical and bigger than our narrow,simple and little minds can understand or accept.It is that god exists"
From the story you can know that pi was saying the truth(The 1st story).The whole story was about pi seeing the greatness of god in the miracles he went through...
Every religion is built on stories,you can choose to believe or not.You can take the easy and logic point of view.
But at last the whole story about our own existence in this world is unbelievable and illogical.
Just believe...

The first comment which started this conversation is precisely the reason I have decided not to watch the movie (no offense to Mr Ang Lee), and I'll try to explain it here. When I'm reading the book, both the stories (Richard Parker vs. the alternative story) exist in my imagination. I have seen tangible proof of neither, and both have been told to me by the exact same voice. So, at the point when I'm supposed to make the choice between the two stories, I find that in that moment, both stories are at par - and I still wish to choose Richard Parker's story. The movie, however, wouldn't give me that choice, since it would make the Richard Parker bit far more believable, forming a skew towards it. If we are to truly understand free will, and if we are to make a complete and unbiased choice between the two stories, it therefore makes sense to keep both versions at par and then choose. The film, by its very definition, creates a bias for the more visually stunning alternative, in this case, the story featuring Richard Parker.

Debbie This is a beautiful movie, simply stunning and very moving. If you don't see it, that's your business, but I think you have missed out on a great joy.
Aug 03, 2013 07:42PM

In my opinion, it is about choice. To believe (in god) is a conscious decision. Faith doesn't simply happen. It is a (free) choice.

All of these comments are great! How often do you read (or see) something that provokes this much thought, this much discussion, this much rumination on the nature of God (or not), and so many other things?? Bravo Yann Martel, and to a lesser extent, Ang Lee!

What some of you seem to be saying here is: "A happy delusion is better than a grim reality."That does not alter the fact that it is a delusion nonetheless. Without faith and religion, life is bleak, lonely and brutish? I would disagree. Without friends, life is lonely, without love, life is bleak, and without compassion and the light of reason, life, as we have seen from history, can be brutish in the extreme.

Timely discussion...having seen the movie I have just reread the ending of the book after 12 years. The details of each story he tells are not important, except from the point of view that storytelling is important. What Pi is saying is, here is one realm, and here is another realm. Whichever you choose it what matters. Do you choose mystery and awe in your life, or do you choose cold hard facts? Do you believe that good science contains art within it? His question to the investigators and their answer suggests what matters is god, not God, but it can be God.

It reminds me of a story my father, an atheist, told me when I was young - he was sailing by himself, and the wind came up and he found himself, an inexperienced sailor, at the mercy of the elements and being blown offshore. He said that even though he didn't believe in God, he found himself praying to God, which is to say how big the faith in something other than yourself is especially when we are in catastrophic moments where we have no control over outcomes.

Some come to god, or awe, easily. Others come to it when in crisis. All of us would do well to remember to keep awe in your life. Go watch the sun rise.

I think that maybe 'it goes with god' because you have to have faith that a tiger would not kill him. Or that there could be that weird plant island out there or even that he came across a blind Frenchman in another boat at the same time as he was blind.

Whereas with the other story you don't have to make that leap. It's easier to believe humans are monstrous than to believe animals aren't. Just like how it is easier to believe that God doesn't exist, rather than have faith in something you can't necessarily explain. So in choosing the story with the tiger, you also choose to have faith and thus go with god.

I interpreted it as that The Bible stories are so rich and often times entertaining like Richard Parker, that it brings wonder and excitement to the story but what could have really happened in The Bible might not be so story like. It's hard to explain for me bu basically that The Bible stories are real like Pi's story but if you add in a Richard Parker, it brings a sense of light to the story and to life.

Here's the meaning of the book to me:

God's story may be unlikely; it may sound farcical, impossible, but it is the truth. The other story, as bad as it is, is considered more likely and yet, as with God's story, we choose to believe the most likely story because it accommodates us better. Sometimes, what is unlikely is the truth: "And so it goes with God."

Here is what the author intended: "The investigators must choose and the reader must choose. When the investigators choose the story with animals, Pi answers "And so it goes with God." In other words, Pi makes a parallel between the two stories and religion. His argument (and mine) is that a vision of life that has a transcendental element is better than one that is purely secular and materialist. A story with God ("God" defined in the broadest sense) is the better story, I argue, just as I think the story with animals is the better story. But you choose."

I thought it meant the idiocy of choosing faith over reality, when "both" stories are in fact anchored in reality.

Danielle (last edited Jan 25, 2013 01:58AM ) Jan 25, 2013 01:57AM   0 votes
I always thought that the story of the tiger was a cover for the horrors of savagery and cannibalism that also could have been possible in that life boat. I shan't delete the word "also" from the previous sentence although that was my first instinct on rereading, but maybe writing it in the first place was my first instinct...?

What the time it happened, the truth was so awful for him to cope with, that he talked himself into thinking the alternative just so he could survive the ordeal? The entire "story" is his fabrication and the reader does not discover this until the end of the book, at which point he offers to the Japanese officials (and the reader), his true reality. And whichever ending the reader chooses for him, it has no impact because whether the reader believes the fabricated "story" or the "reality", he is still left with nothing.

I understood it to mean that Humans choose religion as a coping mechanism to life. Without faith, life is cruel, stark and without imagination. We tend to pick the nicer story.

Pi tells 2 stories: One describes the actual physical experience of evil, self-condemnation, grief & despair. Pi said, "you'll never know what you're capable of until you're really hungry". The other describes his spiritual journey of faith, protection, provision, forgiveness, hope & rescue. His faith in God gave him the strength to survive, live with himself, forgive himself, leave the past behind & move on to live a happy, fulfilling life. Pi said, "you'll never know the strength of your faith until it's been tested". Jesus said, "in this world you will have many trials, but take heart, for I have overcome the world". And so it goes with God.

i totally agree with you. that was i was thinking also.

I just saw the movie last night and I have the book on my Kindle to read.

IMHO - If the Tiger and Pi are one and the same in the alternate story, then there is a meaning when Richard Parker disappears into the jungle without giving Pi a second thought. He is allowing the dark side of his life to move on and receive redemption. In his moment of knowing he was dying he gave himself to God, yet God would not yet take him.

He communicated the meaning of his ordeal from the same parables he read while studying the religions.

I think it's more like, "we pick the image of God that we find most beautiful, not the one that fits the ugly reality around us."

It's just Pascal's wager all over again.

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