"Pi"
What is "I"?

 

"Cogito, ergo sum."
("I think, therefore I am.")
- Descartes
 
The basic premise of this fine American independent film, as well as the plight of its main character, can be summed up in these famous words of Descartes:"I think, therefore I am". Descartes really felt that his statement was self-evidently true. Certainly, most people (regardless of culture, profession or religion) would readily agree with this quote. And yet, in its basic assumption lies (hidden and unnoticed) a fundamental wrong. What could it be?
   To help us discover it, we'll turn to Descartes himself. He elaborated: "By the word 'thought' I understand all that of which we are conscious as operating in us." Here, thought/thinking is equated with being conscious of all which is operating in us. In other words, the process of thinking is supposed to cover all areas of our being - even: our deep longings, our subtle intuitions, our sublime dreams. Are these in the province of "thought"? Upon some reflection, every human being will say: "NO, one thousand times no!" So, the statement "I think, therefore I am" is incorrect.
 
    Thinking does NOT cover the most essential activities of our being. There is something else at work within us; something, which operates on a much deeper level than mere brain-activity. This "something" is our spirit. It is only the activity of the spirit, which truly encompasses all areas of our being. So, the correct statement would then be:"I am spiritual, therefore I am". But, for some reason, this sounds strange to us. We seem to be unable to derive the same kind of re-affirmation of our existence from this statement as we did from the original statement ("I think, therefore I am"). This in itself shows us how we have failed to become truly spiritual beings. We have failed to develop and to realize the potential of the spirit within us. Worse than this, we have failed to even learn how to distinguish between our brain activity and our spiritual activity. The expressions "intellectual life" and "spiritual life" are used interchangeably most of the time, without the slightest sensing that, in reality, they stand in opposition to each other. We are simply cut off from our spirit, eventhough we carry it within us.
    This is our dilemma, and this is the dilemma of the main character of "Pi". He identifies himself exclusively and completely with his brain, believing that it (the brain) can solve any problem and can comprehend all matters - even spiritual matters. In all fairness to him, it must be said that he shares this misconception not only with all the other characters in the film (including the religious believers), but with the rest of humanity as well. His need to "understand" the world around him is the natural need of every seeking human being, but the choice of his brain as the leading instrument for this task precludes any possibility of "understanding" from the outset. Only under the leadership of the spirit can our brain begin to function normally again. It is the spirit, which must lead in the investigation of how the Universe is put together; the brain must be put in the subservient position of the useful tool at the spirit's disposal. This hierarchy (spirit leading and brain/intellect serving) is dictated by the Natural Laws of Creation - much in the same way as common sense dictates that a horse must come before the cart. Of course, no one can forbid us to place the cart before the horse, but that way we won't get very far.
 
    With the brain in the unnatural position as the leader, we are doomed to discovering one pattern after another - yet NEVER comprehending the overall structure and purpose of Creation. The brain (due to its material consistency) simply cannot rise above a certain level of comprehension; the spirit, on the other hand, easily surpasses this low, material boundary and can (with effort and proper knowledge) comprehend the overall structure of Creation. However, our belief in the great power and capacity of our intellect prevents us from taking even the first step on the road to restoring our spirit to its rightful and natural leading position.
    This is graphically illustrated in the film. The main character's unquestioning belief in the power of his "great mind" is the source of his derangement and his suffering. The people around him only contribute to his agony by admiring his one-sidedness as "genius" instead of acknowledging it for what it actually is: spiritual deformity. Installing his brain as master and king over his suppressed spirit, he goes round and round in circles in all of his investigations, while his own life is beginning to resemble one of those spiral-patterns he observes everywhere - spiraling downwards. Feverishly trying to discover the One Great Order behind the multiplicity of life's patterns, he works himself up into a kind of frenzy. His brain is on the verge of exploding; each successive attack brings him closer and closer to the breaking point. He begins to see brains everywhere. Brain is the beast that leaves him no peace, and yet it is to the brain that he turns for the solution to life's great mysteries. He seeks the number, which would reveal Creator's Name - and, at the same time, he uses That Name in vain (along with almost everyone else on this planet) a thousand times each day (at one point cursing Him, when his computer explodes). What guarantee is there that he would treat the Name found through the numbers with any more respect than the already Known One? And, furthermore, what right does he (do any of us) have to count on His help, when we have disregarded His Name and His Will in our everyday lives in every conceivable way?
    At the end of the film, the inevitable collapse happens. The main character's brain activity reaches a fever-pitch, but without producing the result, which his spirit thirsts for. Unable to endure this pressure and in total despair, he takes a drill to his head. In the next shot, we see him sitting quietly under the maple tree, looking at the sun shining through the maple leaves. He can no longer do math calculations in his head. The force of despair has broken the dominance his brain has held over his being. He no longer has his "great mind". Now and only now can he begin his search for the meaning of it all in earnest - now that he is free from the deluded belief in the greatness of his intellect.
 
    The final irony is that the key to the Great Order behind all of life's patterns is already here. The logical, complete and unified Perspective on all life is contained in the remarkable book "IN THE LIGHT OF TRUTH: THE GRAIL MESSAGE" by Abd-ru-shin. There it all is: the Sublime, Unified Picture of the Whole Creation - as logical as a math equation, yet as simple and beautiful as a pattern on a maple leaf!