Thursday, September 17, 2009
The Lost Symbol, found
Dan Brown's (author of The DaVinci Code) new book, The Lost Symbol, was published yesterday. It immediately leapt to the top of the bestselling charts and will undoubtedly stay there a while.
Unbeknownst to us, or to practically anyone else because of the tight embargo on the plot, the heroine Katherine Solomon in the book is a "noetic scientist," and the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) is cited along with a fair bit of that character's view of noetic science. The fictional Katherine appears to be a composite of several real-life noetic scientists.
I am Senior Scientist at the actual Institute of Noetic Sciences. We've added a few pages to the IONS web site to provide more information about what noetic science actually is, along with our current research portfolio, some of our journal publications, and audio and video interviews. You can find that information by going to our homepage and clicking on the "In the spotlight" image.
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Nice. No doubt, it will spark alot of interest towards your line of work.
Hmm, I saw it on my university bookshelves yesterday but for some reason it didn't hit me that this was his new one! I have no idea why, I was so out of it. But I'm sure I'll get it soon, even sooner now knowing that she's a noetic scientist! Cool!
I feel conflicted on this issue. On the one hand, IONS will probably be able to spin this into good publicity with the soccer moms and the Nascar dads and so on.
On the other hand, I fear that excessively popular treatments of obscure subjects runs the risk of teaching people incorrect ideas that have to be undone with laborious effort, later.
Incidentally, this reminds me of two predictions attributed to afterlife communications from Montague Keen:
#1) Great changes will happen by 31 January 2010:
We need you my darling to be strong as the next 5 months will reveal so much, by the end of January 2010, we in Spirit will have achieved all that we have set out to achieve. we reveal more and more to you and bring people to your attention who strive for Truth to be revealed and people to again have control over their own destiny. Do not allow yourselves to be herded like cattle to the abattoir for this is where you are being blindly lead. Look beyond what you are being told on TV and in newspapers, it is but propaganda to control you.
#2) The Vatican, Occult Geometry, bloodlines, and obscure territory deals such as the City of London are involved in Conspiracies.
The time for Manifestation approaches, the 9 Gods and the Great Creator prepare to rescue Man from the Evil that now surrounds you and wants to take control of you by very devious means. Again I ask you to look at the true facts of the Council of Nicea which in simple terms was just A HORSE TRADE for Power and Control. The Vatican is not as it is portrayed. Occult Knowledge and Sacred Geometry rules. Look at the City of London, that Square Mile is not part of the UK... ask WHY. Why are blood lines so protected? Man will reclaim his birthright.
I am tracking these and other predictions made by Keen because his 31 January 2010 deadline makes a nice, convenient cutoff point for judging the accuracy of his predictions.
I plan to continue updating a page on this, but Google will probably migrate it to Google Sites soon, and at any rate there should be at least two or three months' worth of interesting predictions to log before it's all ready for examination.
I've been wondering how IONS would view the book. The publicity is probably great, especially since the bad guys in this novel aren't rogue noetic scientists with a bad attitude. I enjoyed the book, though it's one of those like it while you read it books; a replay of "Code" with different characters and different places.
I started reading "Lost Symbol" last night with some wariness, but am enjoying the researchy prose and etymological fetish porn so far. Not so much the villain, as usual.
As to the connection to the IONS, I think Marilyn's blog expo on her parallels with the book character was a nice piece of PR. I do that for a living, so I appreciate a good flak turn.
As to the Masonic angle, I know an executive in a Masonic organization and when people ask about world conspiracies, etc, she says "Have any of the conspiracy authors WORKED with the Masons?"
That's right. A "she" executive.
Obviously there is more here than meets the eye, as the boys say in "Help":
Ringo: There's more here than meets the eye!
Sub-text reads' "Everyone laughs at Ringo's sudden apprehension."
George: Ho ho!
George: Ho ho.
For me it did spark a lot of interest. Since I was a child, extremely young, I said things and did things that caused jaw dropping in literally every adult who knew me. They were rare and most of them, I don't even remember happening ... but apparently they were profound enough that my family has never forgotten. I first started asking questions about myself around age 14 after realizing a few profound experiences of my own which I could not wave away. I started asking questions in my family, where I received a very tight lipped silence wrapped in an illusion of skepticism. They pretended they didn't understand my questions or believe my personal experiences but I later found out they knew of experiences that I didn't even remember and they DID believe but chose to try to ignore it. I started asking questions of religious leaders in the religion which I was raised and, when not laughed at, was told that man is not meant to know such things and ask such questions...this is why my family was uncomfortable with my experiences and questions. I left that religion at age 19 and have been devouring books from various religions around the world for the last 8 years! I found bits and pieces, in "Witch-craft" I found some semblance of an explanation wrapped in mysticism and dogma which I was never entirely certain I could fully grasp, instead intoning that magick (as defined by wicca) is real but it is also science that has not yet been explained. One thing I clung to right away was learning that human beings only use a FRACTION of their brain and that scientists have not yet conclusively discovered what the rest of our brains "do". THAT MADE SENSE TO ME! Like a computer, my mom has a top of the line computer my brother bought her but she only uses it for card games and email. Does that mean it can't DO anything else? Absolutely not...I clung to this hoping science would start to care more about the rest of the brain, about producing some answers, refuse to admit that it was just there, doing nothing, wasted mass. Then I read Dan's novel, I found out there ARE people out there who will not laugh at me AND they're not chanting and singing around a bonfire either! Experimentation, science, study ... it's real! I always knew my experiences were real but I just learned last night that there is a real scientific study being done to help people like me understand and it made me cry, for a long long time, in utter relief.
I've been combing the IONS website all morning, I've been watching every youtube video I could find with you in it (I'm listening to a lecture you did for google even now) and I have just found your website which brought me here. I need more information, I need to know if it's still in the research stage or if there are hard results ... were they recorded? If so can I watch the recordings of the experiments and their results? Can I talk to someone involved in these studies?
A good place to begin is to read my 2006 book Entangled Minds. That will give you a good grounding in the noetic sciences.
Or, look through the materials on the IONS website here:
especially our recent journal articles and recommended books.
If you want to read some of the full articles, send email to me at email@example.com.
Okay I finished the book. My impression is that it hung the Noetic Sciences banner up and then ignored it for the rest of the book. Like a college sophomore salting some Charles Tart or Willis Harmon books in their library of Twentieth Century thrillers. There was nothing in the plot itself that hinged on any kind of consciousness engtangled in the matter(s) of the universe.
Unless you count disquisitions on breathing liquid, of course. I don't.
Given his breadth of reference, and the wonderful absurd-seeming conjunction of Noetic Science and Masonry, I think Brown missed a great opportunity here.
Did Euripides apply Noetic Science to literature when he introduced the deus ex machina into tragedy? If so, he is still ahead of Dan Brown, whose helicopters and glass fragments obey a gravity that is tediously Newtonian, and a denouement that is predictably Cartesian in its coordinates.
For fun: what would a true noetic science fiction be like? Any suggestions? Authors? Tim Powers has been entered in the lists.
It's true that the plot doesn't hinge on noetic science, but there is a connection with Masonic lore: the esoteric and the occult origins of the modern world.
Our scientifically sophisticated world tends to stiff-arm such topics as being unworthy of serious consideration, except perhaps for fictional "symbologists." And certainly some of that lore is little more than superstition. But not all. Noetic science pays as much attention to hardcore science as it does to the scholarly literature on mysticism, esoterica, and similar topics, because those topics suggest that there is more to human consciousness than one finds in our college textbooks. This is what noetic science is rediscovering as well.
One example of a story where noetic science is plot-central is the Star Wars saga.
A book I recommend about the occult origins of the modern would is the newly published Occult America. See http://www.mitchhorowitz.com/
As far as modern (and beautiful) fiction goes, I can't recommend Haruki Murakami highly enough.
His fiction inhabits a world where the insights of noetic science are central, if shrouded, themes.
They're not about the science, but they pulsate with the mystery of internal life, frequently fore-fronting intuition and psychic journeying.
Our interview with Dateline NBC will be shown this Friday (Oct 16):
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