least one idea — explaining whether H u m a n i t i e s

least one idea — explaining whether H u m a n i t i e s

In this unit, we watched the gritty and, at times, disturbing movie Pi, by Darren Aronofsky. The story touches on science, religion, love, passion, and, of course, mathematics.

Michael Drosnin has a theory that if the Biblical Text is put through a computer and letters are selected at certain regular intervals, a decoded message emerges that predicts the future. Skeptics observe that he keeps trying it until it appears to work. This is a modern sophistication of a hobby that Isaac Newton sometimes indulged in, finding mathematically hidden messages in the Bible.

The number is G-d, the stock market, the future, or, apparently, anything else. When someone asks, “What does it all mean? What is the purpose of any of this?” this number is or contains the answer, to anyone who can understand it. It is the key to all, like the key described by the Talmud scholars that was lost to Jews when Romans burned their temples. The film seems to suggest that it’s better not to know the number, to forget it. This is essentially Sol’s advice throughout the movie: Forget the number! Live your life. Besides the ending, how does the movie convince us — if it does — of this theme that it’s better not to know and live in mystery? That is, how do the details of the movie — the script, the camera work, the details that may escape a casual observer — support this theme.

Also, I have to ask, if you had the number and understood its secret, would you use it? If so, how? If not, why?

  • Be sure to cite at least four details from the movie to substantiate your response, and show how each detail — sequentially and methodically — supports your idea.
  • Intense scrutiny is not the same as sloppy writing. You should be economical in your writing — and deep and expansive. More words are not the same as more ideas. Remember to integrate quotations with good verbs and strong signal phrases.
  • Observe MLA guidelines regarding in-text citation. Incorporate at least one idea — explaining whether you agree or disagree with it — from my lecture.
  • Be sure to entertain more exploratory questions or personal connections, as I did throughout the lecture. Any connections to the random entry? Any analyses about camera techniques?
  • Use deductive reasoning and inductive reasoning, each at least once, in your paragraphs. Place your deductive reasoning in bold and your inductive reasoning in italics.
  • Avoid logical fallacies in your own writing, but feel free to point them out elsewhere.
  • At the end of your post, show your deductive reasoning in the form of an equation, as I have done in my examples (i.e. Whale = large fish, large fish = scales, etc.).

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