Society vs. Integrity

Hey friends. I’m sure everyone at AppState has heard the news by now of the terrible death that occurred in White Hall this month. This news made me seriously analyze who I am and what I stand for as a Christian. I want to go ahead and establish that I have been mentally well throughout this event, but keep the girls on the fourth floor of my dorm and the girl’s family in your thoughts and prayers, for I know that they are struggling. This is a video I made as a response, and all I ask is for you to be mindful of your own actions. If you would rather read my dialogue, I have it written below.

“Rumor has it that today a girl on the fourth floor of my dorm committed suicide around 2 p.m. This was so unexpected. I never would have thought that while I was happily sitting in my room, a girl only two floors above me was in the process of killing herself. Wow. I didn’t know her, but I think that is what astounds me. I didn’t know her. How many people do I see every single day that I just blindly or ignorantly pass by? I probably came into contact with the girl upstairs before, but I never made good conversation, nor did I make any attempt to be a friend or see into her heart.

I know it isn’t my fault she died, but what if I could have been the reason she lived? I texted my friend Andrew about this and his response was, “You can’t save everyone.” I know I can’t save everyone, but what if I was able to save her? No one would have noticed if she had lived. It takes death and misfortune to draw people’s attention. No one wanted to rejoice in her living, but everyone wanted to mourn when she took her own life. What if I could have rejoiced in her living, during the times when she decided against death?

Our society has two major rules that occasionally conflict with each other. In psychology this is called the “bystander effect“. Here is a video that better explains what this is, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSsPfbup0ac, but the bystander effect is basically ignoring people in need because everyone thinks that someone else will help. One rule is to do the right thing. The other rule is to do what everyone else is doing. The majority of people, and this has been proven, choose conformity over integrity. When there is a man lying on the crowded streets, moaning and crying for help, most people LOOK and KEEP WALKING. They see him! The man asked for help, they saw him, and they completely ignored him!

Obviously, there are some parallels between this psychology study and the Good Samaritan story, but what if the suffering wasn’t so obvious? What if the man was silent, was not on the street, but walking with the crowd, and seemed to have no visible injuries? Are we accountable then? Is it all right to pretend that everyone is happy then?

The truth is, everyone has problems. Pretending like everything is fine in the world is just an unspoken conformist lie that society tells themselves to keep from “getting involved.” It is what we tell ourselves. It is what we tell other people. ‘Our lives are too busy to talk to people.’ ‘We are too busy for new friends.’ That is what we tell ourselves. In comparison to caring for the sick, wounded man, how hard is it to say ‘hello’ and ask ‘How are you doing today?……… No, how are you really doing.’ Not hard at all actually. If I had actually paid attention to the people around me, if I had actually stood out from the normal, do you think I could have saved her? More rationally and more practically, if I had even acknowledged that she was there; if I had actually talked to her, do you think she would have felt just a little bit more human? Do you think she would have felt just a little bit less forgotten?

There are so many easy ways to be the Good Samaritan. I don’t want to conform to the apathy anymore. People, no matter their appearance, have real hearts and real problems tucked away beneath their conformity suits. We look so professional, so put together. Why? Because it is what everyone else is wearing.

Let’s be naked. Let’s expose ourselves as Christians who care and who witness the good news that the Almighty Father love each and every son and daughter with an undying, unchainable, unacceptable in our society, passion. By standing still in a crowd of hustling people, we can stick out. We can realize that all of those hustling people are hustling because they are fearfully, anxiously, desperately running away from their problems and pain and they do it because everybody else is doing it.

Christians, you can’t save everyone, but you can lead people to the one who can. Don’t pretend like you don’t notice people. You aren’t blind; you just have your eyes closed! Let me say that again. You aren’t blind; you just have your eyes closed. It isn’t your fault that people die, but what if you could be the reason that someone lived?”

Blessings,

-Jordan

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Grammar Time

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Something isn’t right here…

Today a few folks gave presentations in my psychology class and I was astounded by the amount of simple grammatical errors that were present within the presentations of highly educated individuals. I absolutely understand misspellings and mistakes, but there were some errors that were just too frequent to be accidental. Lacking grammatical skills is definitely not related to intelligence though. I think the problem is that many people just never learned. I hope this clears things up.

Easy Grammar Solutions

1. Your vs. You’re –

“Your” is the possessive form [“ex. Your hair is looking scrappy”]. “You’re” is a contraction, meaning two words combined [you + are].  Try replacing “you’re” with “you are” in a sentence for an easy differentiation.

2. No one –

NOT “noone” or “no-one”

3. Its vs. It’s –

“Its” is possessive [ex. “Its favorite time to feed was around noon”]. “It’s” is a contraction, a combination of [it + is]. try replacing “it’s” with “it is” for an easy differentiation.

4. Effect vs. Affect –

This one is tricky. “Affect” often means influence, while “effect” often means outcome or result. Trying replacing the word with one of those alternatives to figure it out. [ex. “The effects of zombie killing” = “The results of zombie killing”] [ex. “The child was affected by zombies” = “The child was influenced by zombies”] See?

5. Nor –

This is used in place of “and not”. If used incorrectly, it can result in a deadly double negative. [ex. “Either that or this, neither this nor that”].

6. Who, Whom, Whose, Who’s –

“Who” is subjective, meaning it can be used in place of [he, she we, it, they]. “Whom” is objective, meaning it can be used in place of [him, her, it, us]. [ex. “Who did it?” =”He did it.”] [ex. He is my son, of whom I am well pleased.” = “He is my son, I am pleased with him.”] Whose” is possessive, like “its”, while “who’s” is a contraction used in place of [who + is] [ex. Whose dog is that?”]

7. Their, They’re, There –

“Their” is possessive [ex. Their grandmother is nuts!”]. “They’re” is a contraction used in place of [they + are]. There refers to a place or a statement ex. “There are thirty-seven cats in her house” or “Just look over there”].

8. Then vs. Than –

“Then” refers to a transitioning of time [ex. It was then that the irony of the situation occurred to me.”] “Than” is relative, as in comparative [ex. “I would rather die than be a part of this madness.”]

9. Into vs. In to –

“Into” is a preposition that refers to location, just like [over, under, beside]  [ex. “I went into the cave”]. “In to” is used when the two word end up sitting together by coincidence. This can be easily differentiated by chopping up the sentence [ex. “I walked in to find Batman having tea with Morgan Freeman” = “I walked in. I found Batman having tea with Morgan Freeman”].

10. Me, myself, and I –

An easy way to figure out how to use the phrase, “you and I’ is to pretend the “you” is missing [ex. “You and I should go for a magic carpet ride” = “I should go for a magic carpet ride”].

11. Good vs. Well –

I think this is probably to most common mistake among spoken language and it takes some getting used to. “Well” describes a state of being [Think illness vs. wellness or poorness vs. wellness] [ex. “I am doing well”, “He did very well”, “All is well”, “She swims well”]. “Good” often refers to performance [ex. “That looks really good on you”, “He did a good job”, “It has been a good day”, “She is a good swimmer”]. To be honest, I just feel my way about it. Eventually, if you are mindful, you will get the hang of it.

That’s all I have for now. Grammar time!

p.s. Check this out. Hilarious! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujzfv5Mg47c

-Jordan

Mathmaticious

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In honor of Leonhard Euler’s 306th birthday, I have decided to only speak of math in a comedic sense. I think a couple of the prime factors for why I dislike math might be because I cannot function in that domain, and because I have a low tolerance for drama. Everyone has more problems than they can rationally handle. It really takes a number on you if you don’t crack a joke once in a while. (Okay, I’m done)

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First off, here are some math puns from punoftheday.com:

1.            Some mathematicians are reluctant to cosine a loan.

2.            I was kicked out of math class for one too many infractions.

3.            A mathematician that couldn’t stop adding up recently went incremental.

4.            I used to hate maths but then I realised decimals have a point.

5.            I didn’t understand the math, so the teacher summed it up for me.

6.            What do organic mathematicians throw into their fireplaces? Natural Logs.

7.            In high school I recall having a beautiful but difficult math teacher. She was easy on the eyes and hard on the pupils!

8.            Mathematicians are sum worshippers.

9.            I strongly dislike the subject of math, however I am partial to fractions.

10.          You know what happens after you miss math class? It starts adding up.

11.          I’ve failed the mathematics test so many times I lost count.

12.          The mathematician worked at home because he only functioned in his domain.

13.          The math teacher was a good dancer – he had algorithm.

14.          I just finished reading Newton’s Principia Mathematica, and found much of it to be rather derivative.

15.          I’m bad at math, so the equation 2n+2n is 4n to me.

16.          The best place for a mathematician is behind a counter.

17.          The mathematician did not practice safe six and ended up with a binarial disease.

18.          Math class is full of drama. There are so many problems to work out.

19.          The arrogant math teacher finally ate a slice of humble pi.

20.          The top maths student’s blood type was A+.

21.          The inept mathematician couldn’t count on his friends.

22.          The math teacher was hungry, but all she had to eat was a piece of pi.

23.          The first order of priority in hiring math majors is get them to sine on the dotted line

24.          I met a math professor who has 12 children – she really knows how to multiply.

25.          A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class because it was a weapon of math disruption.

26.          We’ll never run out of math teachers because they always multiply.

27.          Old math professors never die, they just reduce their functions.

28.          He became a math teacher due to some prime factors.

29.          A lawyer was defending a math teacher. He had to sum up.

30.          On the shelf there are ten math books, five geography books, and the rest is history.

31.          The math professor went crazy with the blackboard. He did a number on it.

32.          Old math teachers never die, they just become irrational.

33.          The math professor liked even numbers, but only the odd one.

34.          Two mathematicians arguing about even numbers were at odds.

35.          With negative numbers, some math students become nonplussed.

36.          A mountain climbing math teacher found an adder at the sum-mit.

37.          Old math profs never die, they just can’t differentiate.

38.          He wears glasses during math because it improves division.

39.          The math teacher was an exponent of his own powers.

40.          His qualifications as a math teacher didn’t add up.

41.          Old math profs never die — they just use strange expressions.

42.          Mathematics teachers call retirement ‘the aftermath’.

43.          Young women who are mathematics professors closely watch their figures.

44.          A math professor in an unheated room is cold and calculating.

45.          Math teachers have lots of problems.

46.          Some mathematicians are on the negative side while others are quite positive.

47.          A mathematician who was also a horticulturist was interested in prime roots square roots and trees in general.

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Moreover, I found this physics joke to be quite entertaining:

One day, all of the world’s famous physicists decided to get together for a tea luncheon. Fortunately, the doorman was a grad student, and able to observe some of the guests…

Everyone gravitated toward Newton, but he just kept moving around at a constant velocity and showed no reaction.

Einstein thought it was a relatively good time.

Coulomb got a real charge out of the whole thing.

Cavendish wasn’t invited, but he had the balls to show up anyway.

Cauchy, being the only mathematician there, still managed to integrate well with everyone.

Thompson enjoyed the plum pudding.

Pauli came late, but was mostly excluded from things, so he split.

Pascal was under too much pressure to enjoy himself.

Ohm spent most of the time resisting Ampere’s opinions on current events.

Hamilton went to the buffet tables exactly once.

Volt thought the social had a lot of potential.

Hilbert was pretty spaced out for most of it.

Heisenberg may or may not have been there.

The Curies were there and just glowed the whole time.

van der Waals forced himeself to mingle.

Wien radiated a colourful personality.

Millikan dropped his Italian oil dressing.

de Broglie mostly just stood in the corner and waved.

Hollerith liked the hole idea.

Stefan and Boltzman got into some hot debates.

Everyone was attracted to Tesla’s magnetic personality.

Compton was a little scatter-brained at times.

Bohr ate too much and got atomic ache.

Watt turned out to be a powerful speaker.

Hertz went back to the buffet table several times a minute.

Faraday had quite a capacity for food.

Oppenheimer got bombed.

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As well as:

Q: I am the beginning of eternity, the end of time and space, the beginning of every end, and the end of every place. What am I?

A: 2.718281828459… (e)

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 One more….

Psychologists subject an engineer, a physicist, and a mathematician to an experiment: Each of them is locked in a room for a day – hungry, with a can of food, but without an opener; all they have is pencil and paper.
At the end of the day, the psychologists open the engineer’s room first. Pencil and paper are unused, but the walls of the room are covered with dents. The engineer is sitting on the floor and eating from the open can: He threw it against the walls until it cracked open.
The physicist is next. The paper is covered with formulas, there is one dent in the wall, and the physicist is eating, too: He calculated how exactly to throw the can against the wall, so that it would crack open.
When the psychologists open the mathematician’s room, the paper is also full of formulas, the can is still closed, and the mathematician has disappeared. But there are strange noises coming from inside the can…
Someone gets an opener and opens the can. The mathematician crawls out. “Crap! I got a sign wrong…”

Alright, that’s enough pun for now.

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P.S. Check out this mathmaticious video.

Have a lovely evening!

-Jordan

Boone’s Best Hikes

If you are looking for wonderful places to hike in Boone, NC and the surrounding areas, this is the post for you! Regardless of season, my friends and I love spending time together hiking and finding new places to hike. Here are the places we have been, our photos, and our ratings, sorted from best to worst [also note that I will be constantly updating this for every new place we find!]:

1. Hebron Rock Colony

[Photos by Elizabeth Fowler – my wonderful roommate and friend!]

Difficulty: ★★

Mileage: ~1.2 mi

Awesomeness: ★★★★

This is by far, one of my favorite hikes! It is a short, moderate hike to get there, and once you do, there are rocks everywhere to climb and jump on! As college students, we loved bouldering those massive things, but it is an awesome place to go with kids as well. Just be careful about bringing your parents. I brought my crazy mom and she nearly fell off a boulder and slid down a waterfall, so again, be careful with your parents. Also note that if you are not paying attention to the trail, you just might end up taking a detour – not enough to get you lost, but just enough to make you think you are lost.

Location and more: http://alltrails.com/trail/us/north-carolina/hebron-rock-colony

2. Snake Mountain

[Photo by yours truly – taken of my friends Stephen, JB, and Connor]

[Photo by Austin – taken of Sam. What would I do without those goofballs?]

Difficulty: ★★★★

Mileage: who knows? ~45 mins – 1:00

Awesomeness: ★★★★★

Snake mountain is awesome and has AMAZING views, but it is not for the lighthearted. You rarely get these kinds of views without going uphill, so just take it at a good pace. Luckily, the trail is easily distinguished. My mistake was letting the boys lead, so I was huffing and puffing all the way up trying to keep up with those rowdy mountain men. By the time we arrived at the pole mid-way, I had forgotten all about the pain in my mooing calves because of the gorgeous view. I would definitely recommended this hike, assuming you are not bringing kids – unless of course, you have crazy hybrid hiker kids who never whine about a bit of walking.

Find driving directions here, and hiking directions here.

3. Rough Ridge

[Photos by yours truly – taken of good old Sam again]

Difficulty: ★★

Mileage: ~1.2 mi

Awesomeness: ★★★★

Rough Ridge is truly the perfect chill-day hike. The views are lovely, and it is a fairly moderate hike. It is perfect for children and pets and seems to be a happy-medium length. There is a boardwalk at the mid-way point, and if you keep going up you will find the peak that is roped off on some sides. If you are up for an adventure, shimmy on down the other side of the big peak at the end (this is not a trail) and walk around the base of the rock formation (where the closest above picture was taken). That is where you can find some awesome views., and don’t worry, getting down there looks a lot steeper and harder than it actually is. I can’t think of any complaints about rough ridge other than I have been there far too many times.

Location: go to http://www.exploreboonearea.com/PlacestoPlay/Hiking/RoughRidge/tabid/328/Default.aspx

4. Glen Burney Trail

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[photo by my dear friend Patric – Ashley and I bouldering at the second waterfall]

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[photo by yours truly – the first waterfall and the big sunning rock]

Difficulty: ★★★★

Mileage: ~3.2 mi round trip

Awesomeness: ★★★★

Despite my predispositions, Glen Burney trail turned out to be a bit more than an “old lady hike”.  The entire hike there is gradually descending, so that when you finally hike back up, you realize that 1.6 miles back uphill sucks a lot. There are two waterfalls along the way, both fairly equivalent in awesomeness. We tried bouldering the second waterfall, but took our time climbing back down because we forgot where all our handholds were. This is a hike you want to set a good four hours aside to enjoy it. Also, I recommend you bring your chacos or rafting shoes. If you want to climb on rocks and wade through the river, chacos are the way to go. If you have kids, I recommend stopping at the first waterfall and heading back. It was a long hike for us college students, so I know it would be a long hike carrying your tired kid back. The waterfalls were really lovely, and I truly enjoyed hiking all that way just to lie in the sun on a giant boulder to watch the waterfall beside me spill over and hit the rocks far down below.

For directions and more information, click here.

[I have more, trust me! To be continued…]

Rockwell’s Women

I admire Norman Rockwell as one of my favorite artists not only for his realism, but because every piece he created was designed with some sort of purpose or message in mind. His work was my inspiration to incorporate meaning into my designs. One message in particular that I am fascinated by in Rockwell’s work is the way he portrays women and young ladies throughout the 1920s to the 1970s. This post is a random visual compilation of some of Rockwell’s work so that you can see what I mean.

Pardon Me, 1918

Needlepoint, 1924

Three Gossips, 1929

Man Courting Twins, 1929

Breakfast Table, 1930

Child Psychology, 1933

Peach Crop, 1935

Movie Starlet and Reporters, 1936

Movie Star, 1938

Letterman, 1938

Decorator, 1940

Cover Girl, 1941

Let Nothing You Dismay, 1941

Hatcheck Girl, 1941

Two Flirts, 1941

Willie Gillis: Girls with Letters, 1942

Willie Gillis: USO, 1942

Willie Gillis in a Blackout, 1942

Rosie the Riveter, 1943

Rosie to the Rescue, 1943

Freedom from Want, 1943

Travel Experience, 1944

America at the Polls, 1944

Charwomen, 1946

Changing a Flat, 1946

Baby Sitter, 1947

Dewey vs. Truman, 1948

Christmas Homecoming, 1948

Prom Dress, 1949

Shiner, 1953

Girl at Mirror, 1954

The Tender Years, 1957

Window Washer, 1960

University Club, 1960

Little Girl Looking Downstairs at Christmas Party, 1964

For more Saturday Evening Post archives, visit curtispublishing.com. You can also check out the Norman Rockwell Museum. I hope you feel enthralled!

-Jordan

Apocalyptic Zombie Survival Guide

Forewarning: I am not barmy and I think it highly unlikely that any proposed science-fiction apocalyptic event will actually take place.This is hypothetical. Enjoy!

Let’s be clear. In this instance, by saying apocalypse I do not mean the rapture, I mean widespread disaster and destruction. Now that’s better isn’t it?

Let us suppose that somehow, zombies arose from the ground with the intent of killing off the human race and demolishing all order and progress. What would your game plan be? I’ll fill you in on my plan as long as you stay alive.. Luckily, zombies are not sophisticated enough to use the internet, all they do is byte things, if you cache my drift. (Lame yes, but I know you smiled!)

Here we go:

1. Find your friends, preferably the fit and attractive ones. You want to bring people that are likely to survive in harsh conditions and can assist in repopulation if need be. Make sure you bring resourceful women, they are humanity’s only hope for recovery. Dress comfortably but efficiently (meaning running shoes, cargo pants, watch, etc.).

2. Head to the nearest super-store. Wal-Mart is the perfect place to get the supplies you need. Similar to tax-free weekends and black Friday sales, zombie apocalypse prices are to die for, meaning free! When you get to Wal-Mart with your friends, check out the weapons isle first. Granted, zombies are not the most complex of foes, but when they charge at you in mass numbers, you might  need more than your fists. Stock up on ammo and stash your supplies in backpacking packs. Make sure you grab several water canteens, pocketknives, matches, walkie-talkies, and a couple handfuls of nails. Heck, grab some bullet-proof armor while you’re at it.

Head to the food isle and stock up on: a.beans (and rice if you can), b.spam and hot dogs, c.processed cheese, d.canned goods (preferably vegetables, fruit, and fish), e.potatoes, f.peanut butter, g.bread, h.granola/power bars, and i.twinkies. Put all of the food in the back of your “borrowed vehicle” and stash some in your pack just in case the car goes. Make sure you store your food in a way that can be easily transported from one shelter to another.

3. Get some wheels, preferably awesome ones. As much fun as it is to jog to the middle of nowhere, I would say driving is a better option, and since it is the undead weekend, you can have your pick at any righteous ride you prefer. If possible, go for something with 4WD that can go off-road and has plenty or trunk space for storage. Get 2 or 3 of them. Make sure you bring an extra can of gas per car for emergencies. Keep in mind that your vehicle is likely to be temporary. If you run out of gas, you might have to ditch the car for another one that was abandoned. Again, make sure your cargo can be easily transported.

4. Go to the middle of nowhere. Zombies like highly populated areas, so take your guns, food, and women to the middle of nowhere and stake out in a deserted country home or shack. Halfway unload the cars. That way you will be able to flee with some supplies, but you will also have supplies in the shack if the cars get stolen or demolished. Nail scrap wood to the windows and block off all but two entrance ways. Make sure both are guarded at all times.

5. Once you have established your base, you have two options: 1. Head out into the city to slay zombies, or 2. Stay at the base like a coward and wait for the zombies to find you. Before you consider the latter, keep in mind that zombies do not slay themselves. The apocalypse will not magically end unless someone destroys them all. This is where the fun begins. Head out into the city with your guns, knives, and ammo and pair up. Establish a meeting time and place to make sure everyone is accounted for. Go out and slay zombies until you can slay no longer, and eat any safe  food and grab any weapons you encounter along the way. Make sure you drink water continuously throughout the day. If you find survivors, bring them with you to the base.

6. Repopulate. After the apocalypse has endured for countless months and your group of survivors has slightly increased in numbers, assign your healthiest women with the task of repopulation. Let them have the freedom of choosing their mates, but just be sure they don’t choose some wimp noodle boys.

If these steps are repeated and the zombie population is gradually being hacked down daily, humanity will be eventually be restored. The best tip: use common sense. That is the best advantage you have over the undead.

Have any additions? Comment down below. On must always be prepared, no?

-Jordan

Life of Pi

If you have not read or seen Life of Pi, I highly suggest you do so before reading this analysis. I don’t want to spoil it! Also, it is important to remember that Life of Pi is a fictional story, so as to not get over-invested in fact-checking and critical analysis.

Last night my sister and I watched the film Life of Pi for the first time and were overwhelmingly impressed with how well it was done and how meaningful it was! Now I’m dying to read the book! I really enjoy books and movies that don’t just entertain me, but really captivate my thoughts and make me contemplate things I would not normally think of. Challenges are opportunities to become wiser!

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{My younger sister(left) and I enjoying our “Pi night”}

There were many intriguing topics within Life of Pi, but there were a few specific ones that seemed to jump out at me.

First of all, what really happened?

Obviously, some parts of Pi’s animal story were very illogical and cannot be backed by scientific evidence. Everything made sense up until the point at which Pi discovers the “Carnivorous island”, which resembles a large mangrove. The island is bountiful with plenty of food and water in the daytime, not to mention the millions of meerkats, but at night the pools of clean water become “acidic” and kills all of its inhabitants (the fish). Pi watches this reaction from a tree and subsequently notices a human tooth in what looks to be a plant similar to a lotus flower. This reminded what was said in Pi’s encounter with his first crush, Anandi:

“Pi Patel: None of the others dancers did that. What did you mean? The God of love is hiding in the forest?
Anandi: No, that also means the Lotus flower.
Pi Patel: Lotus flower is hiding in the forest? Why would a Lotus flower hide in the forest?”

Why would a lotus flower hide in the forest? The keyword here is “hide”. A lotus flower is beautiful and desirable, something one would desire to seek. What the flower contains though, the tooth, represents death. This could be easily linked with the way sin operates. It is beautiful and desirable, and people go out of their way to seek it. Eventually though, seeking sin will result in death, eternal death. God reveals to Pi what is inside the beautiful lotus flower in order warn Pi that what seemed to be a perfect oasis was actually a death trap, as it is with sin. One important thing to notice is the shape of the island, which at a distance resembles a body, in an eerie sarcophagus form.

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This leads me to my second assumption. When Pi tells his second story to the Japanese company, he tells it with such emotion and detail. Either Pi is a really good liar, or his second story is the truth while his entire first animal story was a metaphor for the things that actually happened. Of course, Pi says,“So tell me, since it makes no factual difference to you and you can’t prove the question either way, which story do you prefer? Which is the better story, the story with animals or the story without animals?”

I would prefer to believe the animal story. It sounds much more desirable, much cleaner, and much less barbaric. Unfortunately, I think that it is much more likely to be a metaphor. The monkey represented Pi’s mom, the zebra represented an Oriental sailor, the hyena represented the strange cook, and the tiger represented Pi.

The Japanese sailor injured his leg from jumping into the lifeboat. After a while, the cook feared for supplies and killed the man as Pi and his mom held the man down. Pi recalls, “So… I kept saying, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry’, but he just kept.. looking at me, his eyes so… I’ll never understand the point of that man’s suffering.” The cook used pieces of the man’s body as bait to catch a dorado, which angered Pi’s mom. The next day, Pi accidentally dropped a turtle that the cook had caught and was slapped across the face. This angered Pi’s mom even more, and she attempted to hit and punch the cook. Pi watched as the cook killed his mom with a knife and threw her overboard to the sharks. A short time later, Pi took the knife and killed the cook. He used the cook’s flesh as fish bait, doing to him what had been done to the sailor (meaning possible cannibalism). Pi says, “He was such an evil man, but worse still, he brought the evil out in me.”

Relating back to the carnivorous island, the shape of the island (a body) has a new significance. I read from one blogger, beerdoggler, “The island (cook) is teeming with life. The thousands of meercats represent the life-giving flesh of the island. But we see it’s shape is that of a sarcophagus, or mummy, or dead man … the cook. Pi eats the roots and seeds while Richard Parker eats the flesh of the island.” This may indicate that though killing the cook seemed like the right thing to do, Pi still feels guilty about indulging himself on something that he knows to be morally wrong – murder. He knows he has to move on from that place or he will eventually go insane. Another theory is that the island represents Pi’s view of life after he killed the cook.

One more thing about the island. I was intrigued that Yann Martel could make up such a place, so I did a little research. Apparently, the closest thing to what Martel describes is a small island in the Tyrrhenian Sea near Naples called Castello Aragonese. According to theepochtimes.com, “bubbles of carbon dioxide rise from volcanic vents on the seafloor and dissolve to form high concentrations of carbonic acid that make seawater corrosive. Like the floating island Pi and Richard Parker discover, the island of Castello Aragonese creates beds of vivid green sea grass and sustains swarms of translucent jellyfish and algae. Yet no other life survives in its waters.”

As far as the relation to religion goes, Pi states that there are 330 million God’s in the Hindu religion, the primary religion in India, followed by Islam and Christianity. One blogger, , proposes that many aspects of the story seem to represent several different Indian philosophical concepts.

“1. Metaphor: The island floating on the Pacific ocean.
Meaning: Vishnu, floating on the cosmic ocean (this imagery was shown at the beginning of the story).

2. Metaphor: The seemingly surreal happenings on the island.
Meaning: Our reality, which is a “dream” in the mind of Vishnu (this was also mentioned at the beginning of the story).

3. Metaphor: The carnivorous algae on which the island floats.
Meaning: Sesha, the five-headed snake on which Vishnu rests.

4. Metaphor: The numerous meerkats.
Meaning: Human beings. I know, what an unflattering metaphor! Possibly, they were chosen for their semi-bipedalism, semi-intelligence, social living, or some combination of similar reasons.

5. Metaphor: The island supports life by day, and causes death by night, again and again.
Meaning: Samsara, the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth – that which supports life, causes death, and that which causes death, supports life.

6. Metaphor: The meerkats live meaningless lives eating, running, and dying on the island, under the impression that this is all there is to reality.
Meaning: Maya / Avidya, the illusion about the false nature of reality, which ultimately arises due to ignorance, and causes people to be stuck in Samsara.

7. Metaphor: Pi realizes the true nature of the island, and recognizes its futility.
Meaning: Vidya / Sat / Chit, knowledge or consciousness of the ultimate truth, which dispels Maya, and enables one to achieve enlightenment and liberation.

8. Metaphor: Pi, recognizing the truth of the island, decides to leave it for good.
Meaning: Moksha / Nirvana, the ultimate liberation of one’s self from Samsara, so as to attain union with Vishnu (in Vaishnavism, a monotheistic Hindu religion), or union with God (in Sikhism, another monotheistic Hindu religion), or attain supreme character (in Jainism, an atheistic Hindu religion), or to attain supreme serenity (in Buddhism, another atheistic Hindu religion), or union with the supreme oneness (in Advaita Vedantism/Smartism, a monistic Hindu religion). This constitutes the soteriology of the major Hindu/Indian religions.”

There were many Christian principles that stuck out to me as well. In recalling the book’s version of Pi’s detailed account of the carnivorous island, he says, “My foot sank into the clear water and met the rubbery resistance of something flexible but solid. I put more weight down. The illusion would not give. I put the full weight of my foot. Still I did not sink. Still I did not believe.Shmoop.com points out, “Doesn’t that sound like “Doubting” Thomas from the New Testament touching Christ’s wounds in order to believe that he was resurrected from the dead? Or Saint Peter trying to walk on water after he sees Jesus do it?

But maybe the island doesn’t represent the type of faith Martel thinks we should have. Because, of course, the algae turns out to be man-eating algae. It’s an island that can consume you if you’re not careful. Meaning, if you appease yourself with physical comfort – all the food and drink you want – it turns into a type of spiritual death. If your faith is too easy and you no longer brave the stormy seas, then you’re no longer experiencing real faith.

Notice too that Pi really tames Richard Parker on the island. He has him jumping through hoops. Literally. Richard Parker, like the ocean, is part of Pi’s spiritual trial. What do you do when your spiritual test (a.k.a. Richard Parker) follows your every command? You leave:

By the time morning came, my grim decision was taken. I preferred to set off and perish in search of my own kind than to live a lonely half-life of physical comfort and spiritual death on this murderous island.

Hope this wasn’t a dull read, I understand that it is long! If you have any intriguing thoughts you would like to add, please comment! I love thinking about new ideas!

-Jordan