Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Is your belief system working for you?


Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
I knew a woman whose name was Lahanna, and she referred to her home as Lala land.  She meant that in a good way, and I liked that.  In fact, her home was blissfully happy.  Despite the grizzly bear warning signs posted all over the ‘hood, she went running through the forest, naked, at sunrise, fearlessly.  Although the neighbors weren’t in the forest themselves at this hour, on account of the grizzly bears and all, they thought she would surely perish. 
We live in an age where we are encouraged to accept only the most rigid empirical data.  If we can’t see it, weigh it, taste it, smell it, then clearly it isn’t there.  While I’m not advocating that we should call an apple an orange, or a grizzly bear a kitten, I do think we can broaden our perceptions.  Our philosophy need not be based on the strictly empirical.  As Shakespeare’s Hamlet said, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
And so it is with this little boy, adrift on a lifeboat, after the cargo ship he has been travelling in sinks.  The brutality of the days on the lifeboat must be endured, somehow.  It is how this boy reframes his world that allows him to go on. 
Philosophy and religion are choices we make.  If you believe life is horrible and to be endured, then you might ask how that belief system is working for you.  If your religion teaches that joy and pleasure are sinful, you might also ask what the hell it is you’re trying to accomplish by believing that. 
Take a look at this extraordinary novel, and see if it doesn’t influence you to shift some of your thinking to be a little more advantageous to you.

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