Category Archives: Noetics

Columbia Begins Work on Lost Symbol Movie

Warren Bellamy: A role made for Morgan Freeman?

The movie version of The Lost Symbol is starting to take shape. Columbia PIctures recently announced that Steven Knight (Dirty Pretty Things) has signed to write the screenplay. Ron Howard and Tom “Robert Langdon” Hanks are yet to sign contracts, but their agreement is doubtless close at hand.

Columbia must be hoping the trio can come up with a better movie than last year’s Angels and Demons, which grossed a paltry $486 million compared to 2006’s Da Vinci Code movie, which grossed $758 million.

No word yet on who will play Warren Bellamy in The Lost Symbol. But the movie’s casting director is in for a tough job if Morgan Freeman says no.

And what about the problem of casting Katherine Solomon? Columbia bosses must be scratching their heads about finding a box office draw to play a female lead who, in the novel, is a few years older than Robert Langdon. Perhaps they should look no further than Meryl Streep? She has had quite a run lately, playing everything from an older woman having an affair with her ex-husband to a vivacious (and slightly potty) Julia Child. Surely, noetic scientist is within her range.

What do you think? Is Tom Hanks the best man to fill Robert Langdon’s shoes? Who would you like to see play Katherine Solomon? And is anyone other than Morgan Freeman capable of playing Warren Bellamy?

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Another Secrets of The Lost Symbol!

We’re very pleased to announce our inclusion in US News & World Report’s special collector’s edition: Secrets of The Lost Symbol.

The magazine includes our interview with the artist Michael Parkes, whose painting The Three Graces, hides the entrance to Mal’akh’s basement lair in The Lost Symbol.

It also contains our essay by contributing editor Lou Aronica, who explores the story of the co-founding of the Institute for Noetic Sciences–and the birth of noetics–by astronaut Edgar Mitchell in the 1970’s.

Other contributors to our book, featured in the US News & World Report special, include Masonic experts Mark Tabbert and Arturo de Hoyos, historian and Smithsonian specialist Heather Ewing, and Mitch Horowitz, a leading author of spiritual and metaphysical books.

Buy Secrets of The Lost Symbol or download it as an e-book.

Dan Burstein’s World Talk Radio Interview

Secrets of the Lost Symbol co-editor Dan Burstein appeared recently on World Talk Radio’s Be The Star You Are.

In a wide-ranging interview, Dan discusses how our Secrets team correctly predicted some of the major themes of The Lost Symbol, years before it was published, and some of the many interesting facts we discovered about the history of Freemasonry, its links to American history, and its influence on Washington DC architecture.

He also talks about our discoveries from exploring a central element of Dan Brown’s novel, noetic science, and the spiritual and material issues noetics raises in people’s search for meaning in life.

You can hear the interview, in full, below.

Secrets of The Lost Symbol Videos

If you look in the righthand sidebar of the blog you will notice that we now have four videos of Secrets of The Lost Symbol co-editor Dan Burstein discussing Dan Brown’s novel and our book.

In An Introduction to Secrets of The Lost Symbol, Dan talks generally about Secrets of The Lost Symbol and about the coded messages and hidden comment buried on the Lost Symbol cover.

In Washington DC and the Freemasons, he talks about Washington sites covered in Secrets of the Lost Symbol, such as the House of the Temple, the Capitol Rotunda, the Library of Congress, the Washington Monument, the George Washington National Masonic Memorial and the National Cathedral.

In Codes on the Lost Symbol Cover, he reveals and explains more of the codes hidden on The Lost Symbol jacket and inside the book, as well as exploring the meaning of a few of Dan Brown’s characters’ names.

Finally, in Contributors, Dan talks through the more than three-dozen expert contributors to Secrets of The Lost Symbol, highlighting some of our interviews and essays that shed new light on Freemaonsry, noetics and the ways in which The Lost Symbol connects with religion and spirituality today.

Buy Secrets of The Lost Symbol or download it as an e-book.

Happy 200th Birthday: Edgar Allan Poe

A post from Dan Burstein, Co-Author of Secrets of the Lost Symbol:

2009 has been an important year for 200th birthdays—Lincoln and Darwin in particular. Two other 200th birthday celebrants are also of interest with regard to The Lost Symbol and the cosmological ideas and, in particular, the Freemason history that is at the heart of the Dan Brown novel: Edgar Allan Poe and Albert Pike. Today, we will give Poe a little consideration. Look for a post on Pike on his birthday—December 29.

There are a variety of fascinating resonances between Poe’s life and work, and the ideas and philosophy expressed by Dan Brown in The Lost Symbol.

Poe, is a great American writer and a highly original thinker. He is best known today for his novels and poems, including The Raven, written in the mystery and horror genres. Many American students read Poe’s famous short story, The Cask of Amontillado, in middle school or high school. Yet few will realize, or be told by their teachers, that The Cask of Amontillado has Freemasonry and also anti-Mason history at the heart of it.

For an intriguing insight into the meaning of the Freemasonry at the heart of Cask, see this paper by Robert Con Davis-Undiano, Executive Director of World Literature Today and the Neustadt Professor of Comparative Literature and Presidential Professor of English at The University of Oklahoma:

Here are a couple of choice excerpts, but I would encourage interested readers to look at Davis-Undiano’s entire argument: Continue reading

Photo Tour :: Apotheosis of Washington

The Apotheosis of Washington, Capitol Rotunda (© Julie O'Connor, 2009)

Welcome to Day Five of Julie O’Connor’s Magical, Mystical, Masonic Photo Tour of Washington, DC. You’re staring up at The Apotheosis of Washington, a fresco painted onto the ceiling of the Capitol Rotunda by Italian artist Constantino Brumidi in 1865.

The use of The Apotheosis of Washington in The Lost Symbol is classic Dan Brown, directing the reader’s attention to an unusual episode of American history that is hidden in plain sight:

For most people, The Apotheosis of Washington got stranger and stranger the longer they looked at it. “That’s George Washington on the central panel.” Langdon said, pointing 180 feet upward in the middle of the dome. “As you can see, he’s dressed in white robes, attended by thirteen maidens, and ascending on a cloud above mortal man. This is the moment of his apotheosis . . . his transformation into god.”

Langdon goes on to point out the major figures in the painting: the goddess Minerva giving inspiration to American inventors such as Ben Franklin and Samuel Morse; the god Vulcan helping America build the steam engine; Neptune demonstrating how to lay the transatlantic cable.

Though this scene, in Chapter 21, is memorable, The Apotheosis of Washington plays only a minor role in the novel at this early stage. It holds no secrets and offers no clues to guide Robert Langdon on his quest.

But, for the attentive reader, it does point the way to one of the overarching themes in The Lost Symbol–the power of human thought and the god that lies within every man.

So important is The Apotheosis that Dan Brown returns to it at the end of The Lost Symbol, with a memorable, some might say, cinematic scene, in Chapter 133, where Langdon and Katherine Solomon climb to a circular catwalk and marvel at the fresco while discussing the key to the Ancient Mysteries–the power of the human mind:

Langdon had to admit, not many frescoes in the world fused scientific inventions with mythical gods and human apotheosis…Today, this soaring icon–the father of our country ascending to heaven–hung silently above our lawmakers, leaders, and presidents . . . a bold reminder, a map to the future, a promise of a time when man would evolve to complete spiritual maturity.

And now Katherine:

“Robert,” Katherine whispered, her gaze still fixed on the massive figures of America’s great inventors accompanied by Minerva. “It’s prophetic, really. Today, man’s most advanced inventions are being used to study man’s most ancient ideas. The science of Noetics may be new, but it’s actually the oldest science on earth–the study of human thought.

Noetics is a topic for another post. But there is much more that can be said about The Apotheosis.

Diane Apostolos-Cappadona, adjunct professor of religious art and cultural history at Georgetown University, has written a detailed essay about the fresco for Secrets of The Lost Symbol.

Among her many fascinating insights, she points out that although the painting, mingling gods and real people, might seem confusing today, at the time The Apotheosis was commissioned the depiction of abstract ideas, like moral courage, as a recognizable person was commonplace.

She also draws attention to small details Robert Langdon doesn’t acknowledge, such as that fact that the 13 maidens attending Washington represent the 13 original colonies. And that six of them have their backs turned to represent their secession from the Union during the Civil War.

To find out more pre-order your hard copy of Secrets of The Lost Symbol today or download it now as an e-book.

There’s Something Noetic in the Air

flashforward1Did you catch FlashForward on ABC last week? This new one hour sci-fi-ish drama (which mixes one part Lost with one part 24) debuted nine days after the release of The Lost Symbol.

One of its key premises is remarkably similar to some of the ideas the fictional Katherine Solomon is working on in her noetics experiments in TLS: In FlashForward (based on a novel by Robert J. Sawyer, a sci-fi writer whose work generally focuses on the intersection of science, religion, and mysticism), virtually the entire world has a brain interruption for 2 minutes and 17 seconds on a September day in 2009, and virtually everyone also experiences a vision of what they will be doing six months hence—in April 2010.

Now, in the aftermath of this huge global harmonic moment, a classic battle is joined between free will and fate, knowledge and destiny, practical action and rational theory. All of humankind must determine if their collective knowledge of the future can allow them to alter that future, retain the good, reject the bad, etc. Quick. We need Katherine Solomon and Robert Langdon to help us decode this, before the plot spins out of control.