Today in class we were talking about the novel “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel. Basically, it’s about a boy who’s stranded in the middle of the Pacific ocean in a small boat with only a Bengal tiger to keep him company. And if you’ve read that novel, you’ll know that by the end the author offers us a different version to the story. A version that doesn’t include a young boy alone with a tiger in the middle of the ocean – a more boring, but quite unsettling version, where the boy and his mother and a couple of other survivors are forced to undergo horrific experiences in order to survive.
And the lecturer asked the class which one we believed. And everyone said they believed the human version. They gave reasons. The story with the tiger was a coping mechanism, devised by a young boy who couldn’t handle those horrific experiences otherwise. That Pi, when he is being interviewed later, seems unsettled, fidgety, nervous, uncomfortable talking about it.
I’m a little too conflicted though. I want to believe the story with the tiger, but I can see their rationality. There are annoying little clues which seem to indicate toward the rational interpretation. But then there is Pi himself. He questions the interviewers’ rationalism, points out the holes in their reasoning, the similarity between their faith in their science and his experience.
And it made me so mad. It makes me mad. I’m so unreasonably mad, and all because of a little incongruity in the novel. An opening which the author has invited the readers to interpret in whatever way they want to. Why should we be so eager to accept the rational explanation? Why not the irrational one? So what if it doesn’t make sense? Why does everything, nearly everything, have to be painted with this dull tinge of ordinary, banal, colourlessness of reasonal explanation? Why not the fantastic?
And then I went online and saw this picture. Which just made me even more mad.
Well, why freaking not huh? Why do we have to accept the less than satisfying? The less than wonderful? The less than freaking PERFECT? Yeah, ok, as far as I know now, nothing is forever.
But what is wrong with perfect? What is so wrong with wanting to believe in a little more? Wanting a little more magic from life? Why should we have to settle for less? Maybe it’s because we’ve convinced ourselves that perfect is impossible, that magic is unreachable, unreasonable, that we’ve stopped making it. And I don’t mean magic in the sense of wands and Harry Potter. Or perfection in the sense that everything should run smoothly devoid of human error. No, of course not.
I mean, magic as in … that extra spark in life. That spark that seems more and more elusive the older I get; and the spark that everyone seems to want to tamp down the older I get, too. Because the world was pretty damn magical when I was ten and that is not a lie. I want that. I look around and people just seem to shine a little less every year. And they are doing it by choice. That’s why I’m throwing this little tantrum. Why should we choose it? Why are we SETTLING? ‘Settle’ is one of the saddest sounding words. Who needs that?