Evolution versus Creation
Dan Brown, in his latest novel, Origin, has done it again. He has taken the questions we all ask ourselves (“Where did we came from?” “Where are we going?”) and spun another tale of suspense and intrigue, this time pitting science against religion.
So what’s new about that? These two approaches to our understanding have always seemed at odds. What makes this story different is Brown’s use of modern technology as a literary device. That’s ‘novel’.
Ampersand Call Home
This book came out in the middle of October. I did not read anything about it, on purpose, in case I bought the book later. I didn’t want to spoil the effect of breathless excitement while reading his words.
However, this is another Robert Langdon exercise in deciphering clues and the most important one is finding the 47 letter line of poetry that serves as a password for the launch of a earth-shaking presentation.
By mid-November, I had a dream about decoding, which needed a clue to help me remember it. This is the image I found the next day.
Here is what I wrote about it then:
Take this word for example. We don’t think about it in everyday language, but we use it all the time. The image (above) is a perfect reminder of how a word becomes a symbol.
When it shows up in a sentence, we say “and” without a second thought. And yet it is a shortcut for the Latin word “et”. Most people, these days, do not study Latin, so the ‘reason’ is lost to them.
I’m always amazed when this kind of thing happens: it’s called synchronicity.
ET is the key to the decoding of the password in Brown’s story.
Old versus New
Brown has an interesting way of presenting the reader with information. Most of the time, he allows Langdon to be his surrogate, and when something is presented that might be beyond the reader’s understanding, he lets Langdon admit that to himself, thereby letting us all off the collective ‘hook’, as it were.
In this story, the Old/New dichotomy is set up to present us with choices: science or religion; nature or technology; dark or light; bad or good. It’s the same as it ever was. Keep us divided and we will never unite.
There is a unspoken fear at the basis of our concerns: will we continue as a species?
We might, or we might not.
Brown exploits this fear to weave his spell-binding story. I won’t spoil the ending for you, but I would like to point out an interesting concept: IS THERE ANOTHER WAY?
A Cast of Thousands? No, Half a Billion
I cannot remember any other book ticking all the ‘boxes’. And, at the same time, allowing me to guess who was responsible for the events as they unfolded. I wasn’t fooled by any of the red herrings Brown put in my way.
The cast of characters were augmented by some of my heroes, who showed up in many different and splendid ways.
I’ve been to Barcelona, I’ve seen the buildings. I’ve loved his work.
“Never in the course of human events…”
His vision was one of a New Earth…
I’m a happy puppy. I have to admit it. The book is surprising full of Hope. And the issue of whether one must choose one side or the other is quietly settled by the character, Edmond Kirsch, who is an atheist. (Hence the title of this review.)
But there’s a ways to go yet, so let me leave you with a quote from Albert Einstein: