My computer and I have both spent the last two weeks running more erratically, taking longer to get things done and enexplicably shutting down.
The computer went to MacAuthority. I went to Amazon and bought a book to pass the time until my next tune up at Vanderbilt Rheumatology of Cool Springs.
I figured–erroneously–that the latest Dan Brown page turner would be good for taking my mind off things. Seeing as how after a week with the book languishing on my Kindle I am STILL only 21% of the way thru…
I need a place to vent while I read this book. I can’t keep sending nm and bridgett and Aunt B snarky emails every 5 minutes and if I did this on Twitter I’d lose the seventeen followers I have left after that one time I tweeted about my nudity.
So I’m hunting and pecking away this blog entry on my trusty MacPacifier, the iPhone. Look for frequent updates.
1. I should start off by clarifying that brown’s book is basically a primer of stuff I’ve read literally HUNDREDS of scholarly books and papers about. So I’m coming at this the way my Dad would watch LA Law when I was a kid.
2. 13% We Meet Katherine Solomon & Are Introduced To Noetic Science
I wonder if Eckhardt Toile and that woman who wrote The Secret will sue for plaigarism. Because that’s all this stuff is. Then as I think about it it’s more like the Mood Slime business in Ghostbusters 2 where the bad thoughts of all the New Yorkers brought the demon back to life. At least Ramis & Co realised the humour in it. This business where Katherine Solomon’s ‘loving thoughts’ make water freeze into pretty, ordered crystals is ludicrously funny, but Brown treats it as the hope for mankind.
Come to think of it, this also owes a not small debt to L Ron Hubbard.
3. 21% Good Things Come In Small Packages
I’m a nosy person. If anyone gave me anything in a sealed package for safekeeping the FIRST thing I’d do is open it. This comes from growing up watching Miami Vice and Godfather II.
Also, I’m getting sick of reading about how well Dr. Robert Langdon has stayed in shape. Do men over 40 really spend this much time telling other men how good they look? Men over 40 who ARENT meeting in bathroom stalls at rest areas?!?
4. 29% Story Progresses Subserviently To Selectively Stupid
I was trying to just let this go, but I can’t. The Bad Guy goes by the psuedonym of Dr. Christopher Abaddon.
I don’t expect that to raise a single red flag for most people. But according to Brown, his heroes have had miles more classical education than I have. And even I can tell you that when I hear or read the name “Christopher Abaddon” it is like meeting a guy who calls himself Goody McEvilson.
“abaddon” was originally ‘the place of destruction’ and then later came to also be the name of the demon who guarded that place. So calling yourself ‘Mr Abaddon’ is like saying ‘Hi, I’m Hell’s chief demon.’
If I, a philosophy major and middle-class autodidact knows that, don’t you think a 33rd degree mason who has studied the Zohar in its entirety would catch on? And maybe not ask the dude in for tea?!
From the first minute I saw IIIX885 I yelled ‘Turn it upside down’. You see, I didn’t need any fancy nonsense about Runes and mixed symbology and the history of Arabic numbers.
Because when I was in third grade all the guys were typing ‘58008’ in their Casio watches and turning them upside down to chase us girls on the playground and make us read it outloud.
It spells BOOBS.
6. 39% A Book On Mysticism Fails To Even Attempt To Understand Christian Mystic Teaching
What fundamentally yoinks me about Brown is his patronizing tone. In assuming the position of a revered Harvard prof as his alter ego, he repeatedly uses the device of remembered Freshman lectures to bring his audience up to speed. While I agree that many Christians are not taught about classical thought and semiotics and therefore are unknowing about things like the rites of other faiths, that’s no excuse for an author to talk down to his audience.
When Brown tries to talk about CHRISTIAN mystics, he flat out gets it wrong.
In one passage he mistakes the directive of Luke 17:20 (the Kingdom of God is within you) entirely. Brown interprets that to mean that mankind is God’s equal. He tgen goes a step further, claiming that Christiams who deny equality with God do so out of willful ignorance to the meaning of the text.
I am a Christian Mystic. I have completed the rites of initiation into this mystical religion. My mind has been opened to its great truths. Because of that I can tell you that this passage means that those who are saved by faith in the atoning blood of Jesus’ sacrifice are recepticles for The Holy Spirit. This spirit enables us to be both of this earth–walking and talking alongside everyone else–yet at the same time able to converse DIRECTLY with God. It enables us to see things as God sees them. It is what helps us to live holy and apart, to renounce sin and do as God would have us do. It is why we, naturally selfish and vain, are driven to give our lives to make the world a better place.
Having God’s kingdom dwell in you is an exquisite sadness that creates a feeling of alienation in this world. Having God’s kingdom dwell in you is a peace and goodness that defies logic.
It is a mystery. Only in being part of this mystery can you fully understand. And when you understand you know just how far short of the magnificent God we mankind truly are.
7. 51% Brown Enters My Wheelhouse
I assumed Albrect Durer would show up eventually. Sure enough, here he is. And so is the first mention of Christian Mysticism. Brown describes it as “a fusion of early Christianity, alchemy, astrology and science.”
That’s like describing a cheese as “a fusion of milk, humidity, bacteria and time. “
Any Christian Mystic–from St Paul to Julian of Norwich to TS Eliot to me–would tell you that those things are incomplete pieces of the larger truth, fully understood only at the unitive state. I talk often about how philosophy is the mother of all modern discipline and how the war between science and religion is the petty squabbling of siblings arguing over an inheritance they don’t understand. That is the essence of Christian Mysticism. And that is why Brown’s tossed off definition is so incomplete.
8. 56% No Drug Dealer Talks Like That
9. 57% You Just KNEW Aleistair Crowley would show up!
10. 66% LOTR
A secret only fire can tell…
Honestly, for as smart as Brown claims his characters are, they are always selectively stupid if it serves the plot.