Harry Dresden Meets Robert Langdon
By Martin Lambert
Is any sufficiently ancient wisdom indistinguishable from magic?
My apologies to Arthur C Clark for the paraphrase, but hopefully I have your curiosity piqued. As the old saying goes “opposites attract”. So perhaps this is the case with two current fiction authors, Dan Brown and Jim Butcher.
According to Jim Butcher’s main character, professional wizard Harry Dresden “magic still has to do business with the laws of physics”. All through the “Dresden Files” Harry explains that “magic” is a way of working with the energies of the universe. Harry tells us that “magic is in your head really” that the spells, potions, tools, and props of magic only serve the purpose of aiding in the focus of thought and will to accomplish your intended goal. He tells us repeatedly that with talent, training and strong personal belief in yourself and your intended purpose, “magic” can be done.
While most people can’t do “magic”, neither can they all sing, or play music, or calculate formulae in their heads. We are raised with the understanding that people are born with certain individual talents or gifts or abilities that are not necessarily common to the all. Some people are lucky from birth, or never seem to get ill, or have photographic memories. Other people can do extremely complex mathematical equations in their head, or draw perfect portraits of people or cities from memory, and if you look hard you find the people who can do truly unbelievable things from birth or after accidents or illnesses that alter their mind or body in some way.
[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”0385504225″ cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51zSco7SgOL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”buzmag-20″ width=”117″]To flip the coin on this matter, Dan Brown’s symbologist hero Robert Langdon learns about the real world science of “noetics” in his latest adventure [easyazon_link asin=”0385504225″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”buzmag-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]The Lost Symbol (Dan Brown)[/easyazon_link]. Dan’s well known exhaustive research into the side details of his stories is respected by his readers and the public media alike. In a recent interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer, the concepts and goals of noetics are discussed and as Dan Brown himself says, “don’t take my word for it, go find out and decide for yourself what to believe.” Having explored the net quite a bit after having read The “Lost Symbol” myself, I see noetics as a science that has spent the last several decades researching the intuitive and esoteric abilities of the human mind, from a scientific point of view. With some simple and accepted scientific ideas in mind, they make it hard to dismiss the possibilities out of hand. What is the nature of thought? Is it chemical, electrical, both or neither? If thought, memory, consciousness, intuition, and reason, are based on or affected by the matter and or energy of the universe, matter and or energy in turn MUST also be affected by them as well.
Dan’s book asks a seemingly simple question, is it possible for thoughts to have mass? A purely scientific response would hardly be able to say no. You can claim (as the book does) that such a mass would be immeasurably small, but if it does have even the smallest mass, then it has to exert force upon the rest of the universe. Dan’s research also refers back repeatedly to what he calls “the ancient mysteries” or “lost wisdom of the ages” from many cultures all around the world. It takes no great effort to find mention of these mysteries in world history and cultural heritage. If a part of these ancient mysteries is learning to control and employ the energies of the universe through the use of human thought, as so many legends claim, and if even only one person in a million can manage to reach any level of significant ability in this field, that would still mean more than 6000 of such practitioners could exist on the planet today.
I make no claims, and do not wish to force what I might believe upon anyone else, but I agree whole heartedly with Dan Brown, don’t just blindly accept what others will tell you is the nature of the universe. Seek, discover, and decide for yourself what you believe to be true. In this age of information and communication there is more opportunity than ever before to find our own answers.
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