Pi is an irrational number.

Yesterday I watched what was probably on of the worst movies I have ever seen. I’ve seen a lot of bad ones recently, unfortunately, but this was bad even by those standards. This movie was “Life of Pi.”

( Just to clarify, I have not read the novel the movie is based off of, I heard they changed a lot, so when I criticize, I am criticizing whoever put the idea in there. Not the experience itself, which I think was poorly portrayed.)

If you saw it and liked, then don’t read the rest of this part. (Unless you don’t mind.) I’ll ignore the fact that the storyline didn’t make sense at all by the end, and just focus on my personal peeve. And yes, this is going somewhere:

In the beginning of the film Pi, the main character, states that’s he is a Hindu–Catholic–Muslim. His father doesn’t like this and tells him that he would be okay with Pi believing in something different from him, but he needs to choose one. To believe in everything, he says, is to believe in nothing.

Interestingly enough, my family has recently come into contact with a person who holds the believe that all religions are equally true.

Pi wants to be baptized (Catholic) but he continues to be fascinated by the Hindu gods, who he credits with showing him Christ; and he finds brotherhood in being a Muslim.

I would never have bought this idea, but I would not have let it spoil the movie for me if it had not been a plot point, but the whole story hinges on Pi surviving with just his faith, his head, and his tiger. And his faith never changes in the course of his journey.

Furthermore, at the very end of the movie, we are presented with two alternate accounts of what happened, neither is provable. But we are left to decide which we want to believe. The problem is, Pi himself never says which is true, he thinks they are intertwined. But they also contradict themselves.

The one good point of the movie is spoiled by that ending, because you question whether Pi ever learned the lesson of his own experience. Which, in a better film, would have been the sanctity of life.

That’s another discussion, but I’m returning to my problem. Permit me to vent, I’ve got to get this out.

ARE–YOU–KIDDING–ME!

(I want to back up and say first that this whole movie is based off a novel, none of this really happened, so I am not criticizing a real experience, but rather the author’s interpretation of it.)

Okay, as an author, our job is to tell the truth. To ferret it out and make it more clear to the reader than it otherwise would be. That’s why it drives me crazy when authors do things like this.

Pi’s faith is polytheism. I’m calling it what it is. Though he claims to be a catholic and a Muslim, he never truly left off being a Hindu. And Hinduism is the only one of his three faiths that his outlook is compatible with. he is a Hindu because of his family, he says. Now, that’s not even the problem. I totally get that someone who was never taught better would assume that cat holism and Islam were compatible with Hinduism. What bugs me is the author who is pushing this idea. Pi’s father was correct, to believe in everything is to believe in nothing.

There’s a saying “If you stand for nothing you will fall for everything.” And my real complaint is that in a nutshell. If there is nothing in your life that you can stake your life on, then there is nothing in your life that you really trust.

Christians and Muslims alike know that you cannot have two gods. It may be one of the only things we have in common. It baffles me that author of this story picked two incompatible religions to link up with another that was even more incompatible. And called that faith.

But it is not faith. It is what the Bible calls being tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, and I’m pretty sure the Quran calls it being an infidel.

It’s a very, very dangerous belief, and it is one we are actually teaching our children in this country, in the form of saying “There is no right or wrong answer.”

Let me tell you, readers, this belief does no good at all. Everyone I’ve met who has it turns into a sniveling coward when there’s a conflict. They use it as a reason not to face problems. Especially the problems in logic that way of thinking presents.

And it is what is killing us. Because so many young people I know fall back on it and refuse to face their issues. And issues will spoil their lives if they aren’t faced.

I may have offended someone by these remarks…oh well. I don’t want to offend  people, but I’m sick of hearing this stuff, and someone rarely stands up to it and says “that’s crazy!”

The church, though I regret to say it, has played a role in this. By not telling people that sin was deadly, and by not warning them that God is jealous. (I just shot someone’s sacred cow.)

Guys, God is jealous. He will not share His position with anyone. It is true, we have the will to choose but what has not been made clear is that if we do not choose God, and God alone, then He gives us over to our other choice. And we follow everything but God, everything  but the Bible. Even if we still think we follow God, we don’t know Him at all.

It doesn’t bother me that God is jealous, because I realized awhile ago that if He was not, He really didn’t love me. What lover wants to share their beloved with another? It’s funny how willfully we choose to misunderstand God’s intentions.

I’m running long, so I will end this here. Thank you for reading and feel free to comment on anything that you liked or didn’t like.–Natasha.

100_1809

Ankor Wat, the largest Hindu temple in the world.

The lost Virtue

I got busy over the weekend and didn’t find time to post, but today I have.

SO, I’ll be working on a lot of writing projects over the next few months and I figure the subject matter is bound to overlap. One thing I’ll be thinking of this month is Virtue.

That word is very rarely used anymore, and I think I ought to know what it actually means. Let’s see what the dictionary says.

  1. Moral excellence; goodness; righteousness.
  2. Conformity of one’s life and conduct to moral and ethical principles.
  3. Chastity; virginity.
  4.  A particular moral excellence
  5. A good or admirable quality or property
  6. Effective force; power or potency  (all this from dictionary.com, love that website)

As you can see virtue is a noun and kind of a verb and adjective as well. It is a characteristic. No #6 may be a bit confusing, but it means virtue as the strength of something. It is used that way because virtue was once seen as the strength of one’s character.

Now that we’ve defined it, let’s look at it. Why should I care about virtue? How does this things affect me? Is it present in our culture. Here’s a big one: how can I possibly make virtue seem relevant to people who don’t even use the word often. If at all. Seriously, when was the last time you thought about it? All obstacles I must overcome to write anything worth reading on this subject.

It’s unusual to write a blog post this way, but that’s the point. Do you ever read blogs and think about how the author tries to catch your interest? Many bloggers don’t they just write whatever and don’t seem connected with their audience at all. That’s the virtue of their writing. (See what I did there.) Now this is not an attempt to get more readers on my own blog, but I do want them to know I think of them when I’m working on this material.

Of course Virtue has a huge place in my life, though I typically call it morality. My posts are geared to encourage people to virtue. I think about it a lot. I believe in the importance of it. And I almost daily feel the sting of a country that has thrown virtue out with excellence. It has embraced mediocrity, and it has shamed the wise and intelligent.

Case in point, I recently watched part of a movie that was based off “Pride and Prejudice.” No this was not the zombie version, don’t get me started on that. This was about a modern woman going back in time into the actual story. The movie quickly took the story, tore it to shreds, and said “screw you Austen fans.” It was the most blatant disrespect of an author I’ve seen. And of a story. They stopped at nothing, they sexualized, demoralized, vulgarized, and then changed the ending altogether.

The worst of it was the main character claimed to know and love the story, but she didn’t know a blooming thing about refinement. Or manners.

Virtue may be said to be the heart of something, and this movie missed the heart of the book so entirely I could hardly believe they read it. I think they just watched the BBC version and decided to learn absolutely nothing about good writing from it.

Jane Austen stands as a threat to cheap and sexualized romance stories, and those writers seem to have formed a committee to destroy her. And she is not the only one, what about the other good stories that are being changed? What about the historical figures whoa re being mocked? What about the books that are being censored from schools because the supposedly are racist? When is someone going to stand up and say “Enough!”

Well, even if you complain about it, people will quickly tell you you are just too picky. You are left wondering what happened to standards.

I’ll tell  you, it’s the loss of virtue. Less than a hundred years ago people began to reject age old morality, and to embrace a new kind that was in fact as old as the hills. Mainly this subsisted of sexual freedom (read: addiction.) And dispensing with things like manners and respect and tradition. To this day tradition is demonized by many sources. We’ve seen ups and downs since the roaring twenties, but we have yet to see a real restoration in our modern time.

There are people trying to restore standards. That’s one of the reasons for homeschooling. But we are still far outnumbered by the mediocre educators. Sorry if you happen to be in one of those schools. But I’m just telling it how it is, and believe me, I do know.

Virtue is something that must be cultivated, and that is why it was supposed to be incorporated into schooling. C. S. Lewis thought the purpose of education was to teach a student what he (or her) ought to feel about things. Not by brainwashing, but by teaching him to perceive value. But people began to say value didn’t exist, but being hypocrites (for they said that it was better to think that way, thereby ascribing value to their own philosophy,) all they really taught the children was to scorn everything that was not cold hard fact. Lewis called this “men without chests” and showed how such thinking would abolish mankind. It also abolishes virtue.

Without valuing things we cannot see, we cannot value virtue. This point was made in that show Girl Meets World, when Mr. Matthews pointed out that until you feel things, powerful things, you are not a full human being.

Until you feel, you cannot understand virtue. And that is why Apathy is plaguing our young people and our old people. There is a lack of virtue in the influences that surround us. Sadly, we have taught each other not to care. A vicious cycle.

But it is not too late. The first step is to realize the problem.

This is too long to elaborate further, so until next post–Natasha.

100_2639

Doves: Also a symbol of purity.

Not apologetics.

“Christianity is not a series of myths in the plural, but rather truth spelled with a capital “T.” Truth about total reality, not just about religious things. Biblical Christianity is Truth concerning total reality–and the intellectual holding of that total Truth and then living in the light of that Truth.”–Francis Schaeffer.

I found this quote in a book I’ve been reading. (I just finished it. Shooting for over 6o books this year.) I liked it because this is just what I think.

You know, I just read a comment section conversation on YouTube about religion being used as a reason to do anything. These random people I don’t know stated that it should never be used as the only reason to do something.

I guess if you’re coming at it from the point of view that no religion encompasses the Total True and Right way to live, that make sense. But I’m not going to be mean and say these people don’t have a point. A lot of religions have traditions that don’t make any sense.

I’ve heard a belief in Christianity defended on the grounds that it makes the most sense; and while I agree that, out of all religions, Christianity is the most sensible, I would not say all of it makes sense from a  rational, logical perspective.

There’s a reason people have for centuries thought we were a little out of our minds. Christianity requires a lot of faith in the unseen. I don’t just mean the invisible, I mean the unseen results. Often people can believe in an invisible God just fine, but they can’t believe in a God that lets the things happen that happen, and that seems to leave His followers in difficult or fatal positions.

Even C. S. Lewis, one of the greatest Christian minds in the past hundred years, he himself admitted that there were things he could not grasp about God. He didn’t have to. he just had to have faith. Why would such a man of reason admit that God can be puzzling.IT seems crazy then to still believe in Him.

In one of Lewis’ books, Till We Have Faces, there is a character called the Fox, a Greek Philosopher. he spends most of the story trying to understand the Divine Nature by pure reason, he teaches the main character Orual to discount any other method of understanding, but in the end he sadly admits “I never wanted her to ask…why the Priest something from (his faith) that I never got from my sayings.” Admitting that there was something lacking in his “Pure reason.” And that is so, because reason without faith is not actually pure.

We were not made with just our minds to guide us, we have feelings too, and those feelings are often more right than our thoughts. Now, the reverse is also true. Many people never think at all, and run on emotion. But this post is not about that, I’ve laid all this out to make a bigger point:

When you accept that something is “The Truth.” You stop trying to reason with it. No more debate. No more second guessing. This is the hill you will die on. You may literally die too, but it doesn’t make a difference.

Jesus explained it like this, the Kingdom of Heaven. (Truth.) Is like a precious pearl, that when someone finds it in the marketplace he will go and sell everything he has and buy that one thing. Why? Because the Pearl was worth all the rest. We’d call that crazy, the Pearl won’t feed you; it won’t clothe you; it won’t warm you; unless you sell it, and then what was the point. Just to have it?What was that worth? What is mere beauty and rarity worth? Any number of old fables about greed and the vanity of owning precious things and losing everything else come to our minds. Why would Jesus of all people use such an outrageous analogy?

Because; it’s true.

Truth, when you find it, requires that you give up all the lies you subsisted on till now. You must give up even your life, or your family, in order to get that truth. Nothing can stand in your way, because it’s not cheap. When you have it, people wonder why you would sacrifice so much for something that seems to be just an idea. “Things only have value in you mind,” we say, “There’s no such things as inherent value.”

But that is simply wrong. Just like a Pearl is a natural treasure, Truth is naturally the most valuable thing we can have. Unlike the Pearl, it may not always be pretty. Like in the book I mentioned, where the god is an ugly stone. (It’s only a symbol.)

Until you can put practicality aside, you can never accept Christianity. Face it, human beings are not, at core, practical creatures. And that’s a good thing. Practicality only deals with our physical life.

Truth says that there is a point in doing things that make no sense. because  if yo do them, you’ll find a whole new layer of what makes sense. Just like Orual digs and digs to find the kind of reason that is compatible with faith, so must we all. If and when we succeed, we’ll look back on how we used to rationalize (as Alex and Brett Harris say “rational lies.”) and shake our heads at how blind we were.

So what if it doesn’t make sense always? It doesn’t have to. How could we finite beings ever understand all of the Divine Nature anyway? It doesn’t take a Christian to admit that, lot’s of people have.

Let me tell you, the wisest thing you can ever do is to stop trying to fit God into your reason, it’ll never happen. He won’t allow it. He wants your faith.

“Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Hebrews 11:6.

That’s all for now–Natasha.100_3137

Ladies and gents.

Ladies and gents, may I call this phrase to your attention?

The one I just used, yes.

I talked about what it is like to be a lady, and now it only seems fair to say a word about the term gentleman.

I explained what gentry were in my last post, but though we still use the term gentleman (often sarcastically) today, a lot of us haven’t heard the term “gentlewoman.” Though it was also called being a gentleman’s daughter if I understand correctly.

There’s a scene in that classic book Pride and Prejudice in which the heroine, Elisabeth and the aunt of Darcy, Lady Catherine De’Bourgh, are having an argument.

It is without a doubt  one of the best scenes in my opinion. And at one memorable moment, Lady Catherine, (not at all acting like her title) accuses Elisabeth of trying to quit the sphere she was brought up in. The translation of that is: Mr. Darcy is too good for her. By this time Elisabeth herself feels this is true, but angered by the Lady Catherine, she retorts that he is a gentleman and she is a gentleman’s daughter, thus far they are equal.

Let me pause there. A huge complaint about men doing the things that used to be called chivalry is that they think women can’t take care of themselves. That’s why gentlemen get such a bad rap. But here Elisabeth states the culturally held opinion of her time, that a gentleman and a  gentlewoman are equals.

And if you examine the story, you will find no indication otherwise. In that time, and between that class of people, there was a code of conduct. Followed by everyone. It didn’t matter whether you were male or female. If you were well bred you followed it and were expected to understand it. In one example, there was a rule that only two gentlemen could initiate an acquaintance with each other, under certain circumstances, such as one moving into an new neighborhood.Under any other circumstances, a polite person would never walk up and introduce themselves, a mutual acquaintance, (male or female, it didn’t matter,) would make the introductions. In this way friendship circles would grow bigger and bigger, but also could stay very small if the friends so wished.

I point this out because it is just one example of how their society worked, and one we no longer use so no one can possibly get offended over it.

It applied to both genders; and that’s the thing we don’t remember anymore, that courtesy is gender neutral.

I could make a list of the few gestures of chivalry that men still attempt to make, but it’s not necessary, we all know them. I just wonder why we’re so hard upon them.

Gentlemen have  a hard time now, because  a lot of the world hates the very idea of them. They mark a clear distinction between male and female, dare I say, roles in society.

I think also the stereotypical image of the man, who’s really a boy, wearing kid gloves and lace, turns off the modern mind; but I might point out not long ago it was acceptable for guys to wear sparkly vests and frizzy hair and that was cool. I’m sure there’s some weird things we still allow that the 18th century gentleman would have found to be ridiculous. this isn’t really about looks.

There’s another novel, “North and South,” by Elisabeth Gaskell, that deals with the idea of being a gentleman, among other things. We meet several men in that novel who are not gentleman by rank, but demonstrate some amount of chivalry that prove that in their hearts at least they are noble.

The mark of a gentleman is strength. And it’s odd that I say that, for traditionally gentry did not work or exercise a great deal unless they so chose. But it’s strength of mind.

What good breeding was all about, at least before priggish people got ahold of the term, was teaching children how to handle things like criticism, being insulted, being ignored, or just having someone be rude to them in general. It also taught them how to treat each other and themselves with respect. how to disapprove of people without dehumanizing them. How to disagree with someone without making a scene or resorting to violence. Of course, if he had to, a gentleman was allowed to defend someone with force, but if among other gentleman, as he was always supposed to be, it was assumed he would never have to.

On a lady’s part, she would also never resort to violence, because it was seen as a mark of weak self control, not of strength. If ever she was in need of defense, she was trusted to have enough gentleman about her at all times to be able to look out for her. This was not a mark of weakness. It was simply a lady’s duty to set an example of gentleness, and a gentleman’s duty to see that she was always free and unafraid to do so.

That’s why to be a fatherless, husbandless, and brother-less girl was so serious. It was a matter of honor.

That’s not to say there wasn’t sexism, there always is, but sexism is not a class thing. It’s the choice of men and women, and it’s a private choice.

Being a lady and a gentleman was actually the best defense against sexism, because it taught you from an early age to treat the opposite sex with deference, and to respect their own accomplishments.

It’s true, that sunk to some shallow proportions for shallow people. Like valuing a woman only for her talents and fine clothing instead of for her mind, and a man only for his style and talents in sports, or cards, or dancing.

But class did not create shallowness, shallow people will be shallow whatever class they are in, and as far as that goes, the gentry probably had the least dangerous way of handling it.

My conclusion about gentleman is that, like ladies, they are made what they are by their hearts. If the way they show it outwardly is different than it used to be, fine. But whatever way they show it ought to be appreciated, not scorned.

Until next time–Natasha.

Doves: A classic symbol of gentleness.

Doves: A classic symbol of gentleness.

Ladylike.

Here’s something I heard a girl say last week. “I am not a lady.” And I immediately thought. “I am.”

Of course, I realized at once that being a lady is not seen as a very good thing nowadays. It’s got a bad rap.

I think that girls look at the term ladylike as being restrictive. It means you can’t do a  bunch of things that you like, that guys can do, just because you’re a girl.

I get it. But I’ve never seen being a lady as being restrictive.

It’s true that there are some rules, you can’t just decide to be one and then act however you wish. And it’s also true that being a lady did become something confining after awhile.

You see, what a lot of us don’t realize anymore was that Lady used to be a title. It meant you had some relation to a king or queen. That’s where the term lady-in-waiting came from. Ladyship was part of being nobility. It was a little different from gentry, (gentry are people who don’t have to work and live off their estates usually. Read Pride and Prejudice.) Being a lord or lady meant power as well as money. It meant class.

Eventually being a lady came to mean anyone who demonstrated the qualities a lady was supposed to have. And that’s where the modern era got persnickety.

Being a lady is shown in you taste. What you wear, how you wear it. How you walk, and how you talk. It is called being well-bred.

But as authors like Jane Austen have so candidly pointed out, being well-bred has nothing to do with your wealth, status, or how fine your clothes and house are. It has to do with how you treat people and how you conduct yourself.

A well-bred woman would be one who is gracious to guests and hosts alike, treats everyone as if they are worth being kind to, and does not discriminate between race or class. She does not throw herself away because she  had been taught that she is worth being earned. She ignores vulgarity and certainly won’t participate in it. She strives to shoe her children or any children around her that they need to conduct themselves with dignity.

A lady will not use vulgar language because she will not need to, she ha the ability to make her point using the words everyone can understand.

It may sound by this point like I’m creating an impossible standard. But that is kind of the point.

Not many women achieved being a lady, even in the day and age when it was a title, because it rests on the heart and not the training. It is hard to be really kind, really classy, really set a good example.

And I don’t always. but I want to. So even if the standard seems impossible, I think it is better to reach for the impossible than to settle for being mediocre.

We keep telling girls not to hold back and to reach higher, but we are not telling them that that starts with their character. If you want to excel in life, you need to excel in you soul. You need to be kinder than people expect; braver than they expect; more merciful than they deserve; and stronger than the kind of strength that comes from being uncouth.

If I may be so blunt, why do you deserve to succeed more than men if you treat men worse than you’d treat a dog?

Now I’ not saying you personally do, (I’m sure you don’t,) but you’ve seen examples of it before. Women are told to be ruthless now, and to trash all hint of being at all feminine.

I saw a commercial for a kid’s show that defined being equal with men as being as good at sports and “just as gross in the bathroom.”….?

I mean, seriously? I’m bringing up equality only because I know just talking about being a lady is enough to get a fight going about gender roles.

Here’s the deal, guys need to have the same qualities that I’m talking about. I’m just saying that it’s ladylike because I feel like girls are taught to be ashamed of possessing a lot of the gentler virtues. The fact is, all of us need them. because it’s part of being a full human being to be a kind, forgiving, brave, and strong person.

However, strength is not always force.

I can be a bit rough it’s true, but I never try to  be unkindly so. And girls, I don’t mean that if you have a fiery personality that’s a bad thing. I have one myself, and I don’t think it has anything to do with being a lady. Like I said, it’s a matter of the heart.

But I think we’d all be surprised at how much power there is in the thing that used to be call ladylikeness, and also class. It doesn’t matter really what kind of music you like, or if you can speak proper grammar, or if you know how to behave at a fine restaurant. Your class shows in how you use the things you already have.

This is running long, so I’ll end on that thought. Until next post–Natasha.

045

Like a lily among the thorns.