Dan Brown – The Lost Symbol

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I read Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol over the holidays.  It’s a fast, entertaining read that continues his successful formula of mixing and twisting fact and fiction to suit a tale of unlocking ancient secrets.  This outing builds on his carefully stated but clear aversion to religious dogmas at the expense of freemasonry.  But hey, where better to find a conspiracy amongst ancient symbols and proceedings?  Good pick.

The thoughtful aspect of this book was humanity’s ultimate destination at “truth,” specifically that truth that will be found when science and theology are in agreement.  Brown introduces Noetics as a modern field of research that promises to resolve the two, principally by finding the god within each of us.  The notable hypothesis was that thoughts have mass.  So what?  Well, if thoughts have mass, then they become weighty.  And if enough similar thoughts start pushing at the material world, we can move mountains.  The reference to add legitimacy to the idea was a study where a person who expired was found to weigh a minuscule amount less after mental activity ceased.  The intriguing part of this was that the body was in a completely sealed environment.  So, what was the difference?   The weight of one’s thoughts?  Or the departure of the soul? 

Righto.  Hello Google, and the Institute of Noetic Sciences.  click.click. Global consciousness.  Uh huh.  So I moved to a more specific search on the weight of the human soul. 

Goody!  In 1901, a doctor tested 6 patients and determined that the soul weighs 21 grams.  He also weighed dogs (before and after death), who were, sadly, soulless.  No mention of a contained environment, however.  The search continues. Aha!  Research by East German scientists seems to be a bit closer to the subject… nicely credited from a tabloid amongst two other comical headlines (funny stuff if you click it; article on page 15). 

The result? Internet garbage.  You know internet garbage when you see the same quote on multiple sites… with no other attributed mentions.  I bumped into this when I Googled various threads on Global Warming “experts” (pro and con). If you repeat the same information on any number of sites, does that make it fact?  Of course not.  Does it reflect an intentional effort to establish legitimacy to an idea?  I’d say so.  Want an example?  Here’s a Google list on Gerard Voisart.  Try Dr. Becker Mertens for your own fun and joy.

Well, bah humbug.  I personally like the idea that the soul has weight, and it’s certainly a credit to Dan Brown to lift a tabloid article and craft a bestseller with it.  The mind is a mystery, and it with books like this or the movie Inception, it’s thoughtful stuff to speculate on dreams, souls, the mind at work, and the nature of stored memories.  Beyond the tabloids, it will be interesting to see what the coming age reveals in this regard, because we should all agree that science and theology will someday converge to an ultimate truth, regardless of where within that spectrum one puts himself.   Only the polar end towards the theological is likely to offer the opportunity of learning where that convergence lies, but it is what it is.

As for a book review, yeah, go ahead and read it.  The CIA angle is awkwardly inserted and detracts from the, ahem, credibility of the proceedings.  But without dramatic tension, the protagonist would just be doing research.  And who wants to read about that?

3 of 5 STARS

1 comment :

  1. I read "The Da Vinci Code" years ago and I thought his writing style was absolutely terrible. *^_^* It didn't help that I was taking a writing class at the time, and I kept seeing the signs of poor writing everywhere. (Example: The main character describes himself by looking into a mirror.)

    I'm a little curious of what I'd think of the book now that I'm a little older, but I'm not brave enough to try a completely new title of his. Is that weird?

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