Looking Fear In The Eye


I have not had the courage to write about fear. Do I know enough? What is the thing I most fear in life? I am aware of some of my fears. I think my awareness has heightened in recent years when some security blankets were taken away. I didn’t think I handled my fears too badly. Not until I watched ‘Life Of Pi’. What if you were trapped with the fear of your life out at sea? Just you and your worst fear. In the movie, this fear appears metaphorically as a Bengal tiger.

The thing about fear. If you face it head on. Face off with it, so to speak. You will know if you win or lose. For many of us however, we cruise with it, not really looking it in the eye. For some, it becomes the unspoken, the unmentionable. A raw nerve. A lingering and paralyzing shadow. The showdown of ‘Life Of Pi’ is the facing off with the tiger. The outcome is really not important and it is not the point. The point is to look fear in the eye. And acting on it.


This movie also drives home a point, in multi-dimensional visuals, that we never know how strong we are until being strong is the only choice we have. So, it comes down to survival. Do we have the faith in our courage to survive? Courage is not the absence of fear. It is facing fear. Pi as a small boy was trembling when his curiosity compelled him to take a peek at the tiger. Out at sea with the tiger, Pi was constantly overwhelmed by fear. That he faced it and acted on it was his salvation. Action is a powerful answer to fear.

‘Life Of Pi’ is a spiritual film. Although the word faith was never uttered, it centres around the question of belief. Do we believe we can prevail against seemingly insurmountable odds? Do we believe the thing we most fear can set us free?

‘Don’t you bully me with your politeness. Life is hard to believe, ask any scientist. God is hard to believe, ask any believer. What is your problem with hard to believe?’ – Yann Martel


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