Quote of the Day:
“It is imagination that encircles planet Earth. Mere knowledge is limited.” –Albert Einstein
TB loves Dan Brown’s books because they blow my mind. I’m a little past halfway through his latest, The Lost Symbol. Like his other books it is essentially a drawn out chase scene, one that keeps the reader on the edge of the seat, but formulaic and simple from a literary standpoint. What makes his books so interesting is the background of the chase which he conveys through the use of multiple first person viewpoints, flashbacks and most importantly a reality based historical-spiritual-scientific controversy. Media of all sources naturally seize upon the controversies he raises and take pains to debate the merit of the ideas he uses as background. To do so misses the point entirely as to why his books are so interesting. It is not the answers he provides, because he provides none. It is the questions he raises.
If one reads Dan Brown to learn the truth about the divinity of Christ or the science of antimatter or, in his present book, the impact of “Noetic Science,” they will be woefully ill informed. If however one simply revels in the mind blowing revelations in Brown’s books and then does a bit of further reading on the subjects they will be much better served. Don’t get me wrong. TB does nothing more than research-i-pedia most of the ideas to which Brown exposes me. Who has the time to do more? But even without fully understanding these concepts and theories Brown builds his stories around, simply knowing the questions exist is enlightening.
Brown’s greatest achievement as a writer is highlighting ambiguity. All my life I’ve heard frustration from society about those who equivocate, those who cannot see black and white. I’ve had that frustration myself on plenty of occasions. But as time passes I see that very few things merit such easy categorization. There are not two sides to everything. In fact, often their are numerous “sides.” Nuance in this day and age seems to be frowned upon, to our collective detriment I believe. What The Lost Symbol does besides providing thrilling escapism is remind us that what we don’t know is a lot more than what we do; that just because we are certain of ideas does not mean we should fail to continue testing them and that even without simple, firm answers, the more questions we can identify, the more complete our understanding of the world around us becomes.
Noetic Sciences is the background mind-blower for The Lost Symbol. I googled it this morning in hopes of discussing the concept but was quickly led down a rabbit hole leading to several fascinating subjects which left me with nothing concrete to report. Hence, an essay on the virtues of ambiguity. Basically, Noetic Science is the study of the impact of human consciousness, individual and collective, on matter and behavior. At least that’s the ten cent definition I have inside my own mind. Of several pieces I read today, I will link one here. It starts out with some discussion of the Iraq War, but keep reading because it’s non-partisan. But it’s pretty heavy reading so if you aren’t in the mood, skip it.