So I recently read The Lost Symbol for Dan Brown, and I have some reflections… kind of like a review.
I’ll start with the positive. I can honestly say that for the most part I enjoyed the book because its a thriller where you have to keep going- and the writing makes you feel like you are watching a movie. Basically, from the first few pages, you have to keep going to find out what happens. I also enjoyed all the tidbits of information (assuming the facts are accurate) and the symbology and history is interesting and refreshingly not at all boring to read.
Once the drama of the book resolved though, there was a lot of talking and descriptions that I didn’t agree with and I actually wished I could be face-to-face with the characters to personally tell them that their logic was truly…lost.
Firstly, the system of the secrets. That the public “can’t handle” what a select few know. Tat really bothers me, because religion should make people at equals and not place them at some ficitional intellectual hierarchy. It is a prejudice I can’t stand. Langdon (Proffessor/good guy/intellectual/”skeptic”) asks a good question at the end of the book about a “coded bible”- and Peter’s (“good guy”/mason) answer is not convincing :
Langdon: “Teachers teach, Peter. We speak openly. Why would the prophets- the greatest teachers in history- obscure their language? IF they hoped to change the world, why would they speak in code?…”
EXACTLY. His question in itself is logical and right. But what does Peter answer? Bascially that the knowledge is powerful, and he gives a bunch of examples of knowledge kept secret so as it does not get into the wrong hands. NOT CONVINCING! Knowledge, should be available to everyone, or else it is not knowledge- its secrets. A group of people can’t just claim knowledge for themselves and ban others from reaching it. Who are YOU to decide that?
Moving on. Also at the end of the book, Katherine (Peter’s sister/scientist/non-mason/”good guy”) is bascially trying to convince Langdon of an idea of complete falsehood that apparently is found in the bible and other scriptures: “that humans created in the image of God-not physically but mentally”. Astagfurillah, subhanah. This is how you know “tahreef” (changing the words of the books) came in. Anyway, she goes on and on about nonsense of humans being “creators” in the godly sense according to their logic that humans were created in the image of God.
Here is the lost logic part: in the whole previous like 480 pages of the book, she was (along with the characters around her), in deep trouble. In near-death situations (if not death itself). She was tied up and everything. Completley helpless and weak. So here is my question to her: why didn’t you use your creation powers to get you out of trouble? Where were you to give these speeches when you were tied up and bleeding? No, you were to busy begging another human not to kill you. Because you prize life- it is all you have.
It’s like the book- the characters themselves- contradict themselves. And it really is the state of Insaan (humans). In times of danger, completely helpless. There is nothing they can do unless Allah saves them. But then when everything is resolved, rather than being thankful to Allah and grateful, rather than these dumb characters prostating in sujood- all of a sudden they gain confidence-as if they with their own power and strength pulled themselves out of the hardship they were in. They forget the weakness they were just in a few minutes, hours, or pages ago and suddenly they have the audacity to go on and on about being creators! Your power is nothing! Humans have great potential, yes. But within the realm of humanity. Allah subahanahu is worthy of worship because there is NOTHING SIMILAR TO HIS BEING. Not in his image, nothing. We are the servants, he is the Creator. We may “create” small things on earth if Allah blesses us with the knowledge of how to do so, but he the exalted is the best of creators.
She has the audacity to say that “we kneel like frightened children, begging for help (from God), for forgiveness, for good luck.” (When instead, according to her we should realize we are “creators” and do something) Again, were you not just that hours ago? Don’t worry, I realize she is fictional, but its like- humans: wake up! Remember your times of weakness. How do you dare compare yourself to the all-powerful? What power have you when you have something as simple as the common cold? NOTHING. So if anyone read this book, I hope they see that flaw in her logic.
Another point about this previous quote of hers. Uhh, excuse you, but are you dissing Du’aa?? We should never get sucked into this way of thinking. Kneeling down frightened, asking Allah for help, is one of the best states you can be in- because by supplicating you are submitting to Allah, you are declaring that matters are in his hands alone, that he is the all-powerful, worthy of worship. And you realize your place. A human. Sees himself as a giant, but truly a helpless speck on Earth if not for Allah’s blessings.
I think this has gotten long enough, and I won’t repeat my points. I still would reccomend reading the book but if you take one thing from this post it is this: humans (like the characters of this book) are oftentimes arrogant. And since they cannot humble themselves to believe that there are things in this universe that is out of their ability to grasp, or humble themselves to all that which is more powerful than them this is their escape: they try to shrink huge, deep concepts, shrink it and symbolize it and decode what is written painly so that they can fit it in their minds. Rather, what we should do is broaden our horizons, realize our humble position, and accept that there are things beyond our mental capacity- not alter it so that we can understand it and feel good about ourselves.
Katherine claims that “heaven” is code for your mind. And that concept is exciting for her. SubhanAllah, there is no concept more depressing. My mind being heaven?? That’s it?? No way.
I believe in heaven, as in.. heaven. As in it stretchs beyond imagination. It has flowing rivers. Everlasting enjoyment. Fruits never tasted. Ultimate Companionship. It has the greatest pleasure of all- to see the face of Allah subhanahu wa taa’la. That is heaven. A real place, a real concept, and a real prize. I pity anyone whose arrogance and ignorance leads them to shrinking heaven to something fake. That would be another post though…. The Lost Prize..