Pi - Perceptual Paradigms

Quick Thoughts: Pi

Darren Aronofsky's 1998 masterpiece. This follows Max Cohen a 'numbers whiz' on a psychological journey toward what could be God.

First thing's first, I love this film--obviously. It blends reality with fantasy to portray the crushing surreal experience of simply not knowing. The film appeals to viewer's intrigue of numbers, patterns, consequence with a formalised routine of its character to slowly descend into the depths of his anxieties. Though we all may not love maths (in any way shape or form) the film appeals to us on a cognitive level--off the basis the pragmatic human perception of patterns. The same thing that makes you think your iPod is conspiring against you, playing the same songs over and over, is what drives the connection between us and the character. To paraphrase what he repeatedly tells us: patterns can be found in nature, they are apart of it and so maths can explain it. I think all people hold this belief in their very core. To think that your perception is worthy of the world is to assume there's a pattern. To think that your business plan, work schedule, life choices can get you where you want to be is to assume there's a workable paradigm to life and nature. Through Max, the film gives us an insight into a near omnipotence--at least, to me, with being able to calculate anything a calculator can at the drop of a hat. Honestly, it sounds like a super power--one that'd get boring pretty quick, but, a super power nonetheless. Being able to calculate anything for Max is the viewer being able to know the perfect tweet to send to get their favourite celebrity to tweet back, follow them, fall into their intricately planned kidnapping scheme--or whatever people want from favourite celebrities--such a strange idea. Off point. Max's abilities attract us to the film, as it basically implies that we can have an hour and a half of feeling we've got the answers to the questions, the code to suite the paradigm of our lives; living. To stay general, Max using maths to find God is nothing more than the everyday pursuit of success. Of course success and pursuit define Max's search without the majority of the previous as evidence, but beyond the obvious, the film shows that success is little more than finding a path--calculating the perfect equation--finding that number hidden in a script countless others have lived by. In short, Max meeting God is you getting your Oscar or promotion at work--big jump down, but we've all got different goals. The film demonstrates that people see life as little more than a pattern; that we believe we are above the universe we come from; that we can comprehend the systems that made us. In my opinion, this is folly. The pursuit for eternal life, knowledge or general omnipotence is going to end up with a deranged reflection in a grimy bathroom mirror that looks like what could be you, but with a hand drill pressed against his/her temple, inevitably going to pull that trigger and push the drill bit in.

All in all, you've got what you've got in life. More? A question we maybe shouldn't ask ourselves as much. Here's me writing to be heard though, so know that I accept the fact that 'more?' is an imperative to the human condition, but, I don't know... giving ourselves a break once in a while could help. What do you think?

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2001: A Space Odyssey - Whose Classic?

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