There is no mistaking it. Dan Brown is a sensational author whose writings will take you through a spiral. A spiral of emotions, history, knowledge, and suspense; all woven together to form an intricate tall staircase. Don’t judge or stop just ‘coz it’s tiring. The view at the summit is always rewarding. Let’s now walk on the staircase of Sagrada Familia; the 3rd most dangerous staircase in the entire world.
Why ‘Sagrada Familia’? You’ll think of this question if you haven’t read ‘Origin’ yet. But if you have, you’ll know that this staircase has an action sequence and is damn tall! Also, it’s the cover page of this book which attracted many readers with its appeal and authenticity.
The story in this book, like its predecessors, develops in a 24-hour time frame. Our hero, Robert Langdon, has to solve the mystery of finding a password and then using it to help his late friend. In this journey, he’s not alone but with the future Queen of Spain, Ambra. Both of them, amidst all controversies and bullets, fired at them, race against time. Still, they aren’t alone. An invisible force pushes them forth. A valuable friend whose value is immeasurable.
And in their interactions with one another, we find a well of good sayings. Here are a few that’ll let you know what the book is about.
On science and religion
Science and religion have always been topics of controversial discussion. What science cannot prove, it’s stated in religious terms. And, the work of science is to overwrite and overrule religious beliefs and superstitions.
Well, science and religion are not competitors, they’re two different languages trying to tell the same story. There’s room in this world for both.
– Robert Langdon
Being loyal is different, although a wee bit, from being truthful. You can be true to your superior/customer, all the while lying to yourself. Or, you can try being honest – both to yourself and your superior/customer. Loyalty is the former type. It doesn’t demand your opinion but it gives you satisfaction only when you fulfil your superior’s/customer’s commands.
Any man can stay sober in a desert, but only the loyal can sit in an oasis and refuse to part his lips.
– Luis Avila
Way of living
How do you live? What makes your life? Do you know what you want in your future? Or, how your future will be? You can’t predict the future but you can predict the outcome of your present actions. The steps you take now will pave your path for the steps you will be taking in the future. And, along the way, you’ll gain respect from those who watch you walk.
Everone respects those who live by a code.
– Luis Avila
Reminiscing about childhood
Hectic life, right? If you’re still studying, maybe, not so hectic. Only a working adult will know how hard it is to find time for oneself. How many of the working population have time to sit on their apartment’s balcony and enjoy the fresh air? Enjoy some purely “me” time? How many families actually go out on a picnic, at least once a week? Once a month? Just a handful. As we grow, we forget what it is to be a child.
We used to do this as kids but somewhere along the way, we stopped.
– Robert Langdon
What Science actually is
Each one of us has different ideas on science and its definition. Maybe, you’ve never even thought of it (Bullseye, for some, right?). “Origin” gives a universal definition of Science. This one, won’t be found in any textbooks. This definition is purely a thought amidst a speech. And, it makes more sense than the actual definition of science we once mugged up!
Science is the antithesis of faith. Science, by definition, is the attempt to find physical proof for that which is unknown or not yet defined, and to reject superstition and misperception in favor of observable facts. When Science offers an answer, that answer is universal. Humans do not go to war over it; they rally around it.
– Edmond Kirsch
Faith, forgiveness and the power to heal
Despite everything, it isn’t easy to destroy one’s faith in something. If you trust science, nobody but you can break it. If you trust that there is a God looking over you, nobody but you can break your faith. Through faith comes the will to forgive and the power to heal.
I realize acts of religious terrorism seem unforgivable. And yet, it may be helpful to remember that our own faith waged a centuries-long Inquisition in the name of our God. We killed innocent women and children in the name of our beliefs. For this, we have had to ask forgiveness from the world, and from ourselves. And through time, we have healed.
– A Nun
Yet, sometimes, not all should be forgiven
How long will forgiveness work? In this day and age, if a rapist is forgiven, will he reflect on his actions or be overjoyed on his release? There is no person who will reflect upon the bad deeds they commit. Bad crimes. Forgiveness is not an answer when crimes are deadly evils.
My friends, I warn you, evil will swallow us whole if we do not fight with force. We will never conquer evil if our battle cry is ‘forgiveness’. In some cases, forgiveness can be dangerous. When we forgive evil in the world, we are giving evil permission to grow and spread. When we respond to an act of war with an act of mercy, we are encouraging our enemies to commit further acts of violence.
– Palmarian Pope Innocent
Having enemies is good, says Dan Brown
Have you heard this famous saying – “Keep your friends close and enemies closer”? Your enemies, without any positive motive, encourage you to do better. Better than before. You keep challenging yourself that you should top your enemy. Presence of enemies turns on the “Self-encouragement” button in any person.
You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something!
– Edmond Kirsch, quoting Winston Churchill
The price of greatness
We evolve, as time goes on. The human we are today isn’t the same as the human we’ll become tomorrow. We’ve come a long way – from starting a fire using stones to creating synthetic intelligence. We now experiment on synthetic humans. And, we must admit that we are great. And with such greatness, comes a huge responsibility of restoring and controlling the power we created in the name of technology.
As we move into an undefined tomorrow, we will transform ourselves into something greater than we can yet imagine, with powers beyond our wildest dreams. And, as we do may we never forget the wisdom of Churchill, who warned us: ‘The power of greatness… is responsibility.’
– Edmond Kirsch
Love is a wonderful emotion
Your life holds on, even in the darkest of tunnels, because of ‘Love’. Without love, there is no existence. Our myths talked about “The Garden Of Eden” and “Angels from the sky“. But, they aren’t as beautiful as they seem without love to decorate them. And, the beauty of love is to believe in it. Get immersed in it.
Love is from another realm. We cannot manufacture it on demand. Nor can we subdue it when it appears. Love is not our choice to make.
– The King of Spain
Love is not a finite emotion.
We don’t have only so much to share.
Our hearts create love as we need it.
– Edmond Kirsch
Finally, “Prayer for the Future”
I must say, by far, these are my favourite lines from the book “Origin”. It’s a prayer written for the mankind by the mankind. No matter how far we go in the field of technological advancements, we must never forget the fact that we’re human. In being human, in doing what it takes to be a human, we protect our humanity from the technologies we create.
Let’s not forget the prayer for our future. Ever.
May our philosophies keep pace with our technologies.
May our compassion keep pace with our powers.
And, may love, not fear, be the engine of change.
– Edmond Kirsch
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