Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Faith in Chaos

Though the net is all a-twitter with The Vigilant Citizen's shocking exposees on the Lady Gaga Code, the same blog is also known for explanations of the esoteric meanings of films of whose hidden agenda the author does not approve. To break with this slightly, I will discuss the esoteric meaning of a film of whose hidden agenda I thoroughly approve:

To claim that Pi is about mathematics is false. The exoteric plot is indeed about maths -- the main character, Max Cohen, is a brilliant mathematician searching for a pattern in the stock market; when he finds it, he is pursued by both Wall Street and a sect of Kaballists who believe that the pattern he has found is the true name of god. He has hallucinations along the way, and in the end he puts his tired overworked brain out of its misery.

The esoteric meaning, obvious to anyone who has spent a significant period of time training in western mysticism, appears to be to some extent distinctly discordian in nature. A brilliant mathematician, torn up inside looking for order in all things, decides to tackle what appears to be pure chaos. He finds the order in the chaos, and after a long trip through chapel perilous, gains enlightenment (or re-gains it) by realizing that not all things must be ordered -- the mystical transformation from aneristic avatar to balanced human being. Along the way, in hallucinatory trips and 'real world' adventures alike, he is faced with several themes: the search of light (the ain sof of kaballah is mentioned explicitly; he looked at the sun as a child and went blind, mirroring the early kaballist who went blind from imagining God's robe and its infinite spiral of light that bends space and time -- and he refinds it in part during every fade to white), the search for order in apparent pure chaos (pareidoila and the law of fives is mentioned outright by his mentor, along with the metaphor of the go board), and the backlash against his own mind for doing so (the hallucinatory and real beatings of his brain, Sol's stroke).

In a way, Pi is a very canon representation of how RAW might approach the interpretation of a Kaballist's journey through chapel perilous. The Kaballah method would involve mathematics explicitly; gematria is dropped into the plot. The man's reality tunnel becomes horribly inverted -- he is able to predict things that cannot be predicted, but he is unable to predict the otherwise expected. Only when he gives up the search for order in all chaos -- and indeed, has faith in chaos -- is he at peace. His last line of the film, "I don't know", shows his inner peace in agnosis.

No comments:

Post a Comment