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Dan Brown, The Lost Symbol, and Freemasonry

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posted on Oct, 9 2009 @ 01:28 PM
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Dan Brown was asked to address the Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction's gathering this week. Unfortunately he was unable to attend, because he was out promoting his new book, The Lost Symbol. He did, however, write a letter which included, in part

In the past few weeks, as you might imagine, I have been repeatedly asked what attracted me to the Masons so strongly as to make it a central point of my book. My reply is always the same: “In a world where men do battle over whose definition of God is most accurate, I cannot adequately express the deep respect and admiration I feel toward an organization in which men of differing faiths are able to ‘break bread together’ in a bond of brotherhood, friendship, and camaraderie."

Please accept my humble thanks for the noble example you set for humankind. It is my sincere hope that the Masonic community recognizes The Lost Symbol for what it truly is…an earnest attempt to reverentially explore the history and beauty of Masonic Philosophy.
As a Mason who's read The Lost Symbol, I did take some minor offense at some of the things he wrote, or the way certain things were characterized, but overall, I do find it interesting to hear in his own words why he was attracted to the subject, and why he didn't use his position to paint us in a more controversial light.




posted on Oct, 9 2009 @ 02:28 PM
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reply to post by JoshNorton
 


that certainly is nice of him to take the time to convey that thought. He sounds very genuine. His books have definitely helped with our numbers.

Maybe we should recommend him for a Nobel Peace Prize. I hear they are giving them to anybody now a days.



posted on Oct, 9 2009 @ 03:11 PM
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reply to post by JoshNorton
 


He's not only attracted to the subject of the masons, man , but he also adores the subject. Intensely. He did not want to paint you masons in a more controversial light. He freaking loves you guys
He's intrigued with Masonic philosophy, obviously. However it's the stuff of novels, mate. Illuminati, bloodlines, masons. He's making readers excited with these subjects. It's an artistic endeavor. And he's a philosopher . So he writes about what intrigues him: masonic philosophy.
imho it is only philosophy and nothing in philosophy can truly be taken seriously when a large number of philosophers today live in fear of some physicist at some point proclaiming that causal determinism is true. my point is not meant to be disparaging. Just that philosophers these days cower before the ever looming all threatening announcements of The Establishment. Brown is a philosopher and a talented writer. I only wonder what he means by masonic philosophy? is he referring to what the public all knows about ? or insinuating that it's another philosophy altogether hidden from the public eye? and/or that he is privvy to the highest levels of it's teachings.



posted on Oct, 9 2009 @ 03:58 PM
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Originally posted by dragonsmusic
He's not only attracted to the subject of the masons, man , but he also adores the subject. Intensely. He did not want to paint you masons in a more controversial light. He freaking loves you guys
He's intrigued with Masonic philosophy, obviously. However it's the stuff of novels, mate. Illuminati, bloodlines, masons. He's making readers excited with these subjects. It's an artistic endeavor. And he's a philosopher . So he writes about what intrigues him: masonic philosophy.
I don't disagree, but I guess what I was getting at is that in Angels & Demons he made up a bunch of BS about the Illuminati that wasn't true, and yet he claimed it was at the beginning of the novel; in The Da Vinci Code he carried on the hoax of the Priory of Sion which was started by Plantard in the 50's and 60's, but known to be false, yet Brown again claimed it was all true. So naturally when we found out The Lost Symbol was dealing primarily with Masons, we were obviously concerned that he'd perpetuate some myth and insist it was fact, giving fuel to those who misunderstand or hate us already.

[edit on 10/9/2009 by JoshNorton]



posted on Oct, 9 2009 @ 04:26 PM
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reply to post by JoshNorton
 


I can understand how you and your masonic mates would be feeling that concern. I can empathize in a very small way. Growing up I often had a lot of attention from girls and I tended to be somewhat popular. My family moved after my fourth grade year and I went to three different schools in three years at one point. Guys always wanted to fight me at each new school. I remember many things actually that jealous people would make up about me. And then when that sort of thing spreads it feels awful.
What would you say is the collective take among the masons about this new book The Lost Symbol? I mean would you say that like they are losing it with this Brown guy
? I guess what I'm wondering is what you feel the collective masonic opinion would be about mr b after this latest installment? I know that is a huge question and there might be more than just one answer. He practically worships you guys and then sometimes he writes things that obviously offend the masonic collective. Any of your thoughts would be welcome.



posted on Oct, 9 2009 @ 04:50 PM
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reply to post by dragonsmusic
 


The Masonic Society, in conjunction with the Masonic Service Association of North America and the George Washington Masonic Memorial, had preemptively created a website to diffuse any fallout from the novel. (Since the contents of the book were top secret until the release date, they didn't know what to expect and wanted a forum in place in case there were any major errors that needed addressing...)

The site is here, and while there weren't as many issues as we might have originally feared, I still think that page stands well to address some of the questions that might have arisen from the publication of Brown's novel. Various individual Masonic bloggers weighed in with their opinions in their own forums, but I think overall we think the novel presents Masonry in a positive light and might encourage non-members to pursue a more informed inquiry if they're so inclined.



posted on Oct, 9 2009 @ 04:54 PM
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With membership dwindling and interest in Freemasonry fading, masons should be grateful for the free publicity they are getting.

(Never did finish the book...too formulaic)



posted on Oct, 9 2009 @ 05:43 PM
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reply to post by JoshNorton
 


Thank you for taking the time to share these ideas. It is appreciated.



posted on Oct, 9 2009 @ 06:51 PM
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While it true getting a certain amount of attention is helpful it does make investigating comittees for new members more troublesome.

We've already seen would be members attempting to join who lie about things, even a belief in God, simply because they want to find out about the "big conspiracy". No man with an honest desire to join, and who honestly beleives in God, and wishes to improve himself in masonry would be turned down, but it has made us have to be a little more careful in our background checks. Some would be members want to join if only to perpetuate the lies, and say they are a "mason" as back up.



posted on Oct, 9 2009 @ 11:24 PM
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reply to post by ForkandSpoon
 


True, and i am a firm believer in the saying of Quality over Quantity. I believe we need to be more strict on our investigations. We shouldn't be trying to acquire new members for $$$.



posted on Oct, 10 2009 @ 12:25 PM
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Originally posted by bushidomason
reply to post by ForkandSpoon
 


True, and i am a firm believer in the saying of Quality over Quantity. I believe we need to be more strict on our investigations. We shouldn't be trying to acquire new members for $$$.


I couldn't agree more Bushido. I was recently on an investigation committee and we grilled the applicant quite hard. We have had issues with new initiates receiving the MM degree and vanishing, never to be seen in the hall again. If we are going to survive and thrive we need contributors, not men looking for a badge to wear.



posted on Oct, 13 2009 @ 09:16 AM
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Originally posted by JoshNorton

Originally posted by dragonsmusic
... He did not want to paint you masons in a more controversial light. He freaking loves you guys
...
I don't disagree, but I guess what I was getting at is that in Angels & Demons he made up a bunch of BS about the Illuminati that wasn't true, and yet he claimed it was at the beginning of the novel; in The Da Vinci Code he carried on the hoax of the Priory of Sion which was started by Plantard in the 50's and 60's, but known to be false, yet Brown again claimed it was all true. So naturally when we found out The Lost Symbol was dealing primarily with Masons, we were obviously concerned that he'd perpetuate some myth and insist it was fact, giving fuel to those who misunderstand or hate us already.

[edit on 10/9/2009 by JoshNorton]


That is one big problem that I have with Dan Brown. I dig fiction, and I love "what if?..." stories. But it is the utter mis-characterization that irks me. When he claims at the front of the book that is all true, like the Priory of Sion junk or the Opus Dei material, is a rather dishonest way to build interest in a book.

Here's something: he maligns other groups, but then paints the Masons in a kinder light. Is this going to trigger theories about Brown being a Masonic propagandist?



posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 05:34 AM
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Originally posted by JoshNorton
...but I guess what I was getting at is that in Angels & Demons he made up a bunch of BS about the Illuminati that wasn't true, and yet he claimed it was at the beginning of the novel; in The Da Vinci Code he carried on the hoax of the Priory of Sion which was started by Plantard in the 50's and 60's, but known to be false, yet Brown again claimed it was all true.


Its been quite some time since I read those books, but isn't the operative concept here that they are works of fiction? Whilst such operations in suspension of disbelief can have a powerful effect on the collective psyche, as soon as you open a text marked "fiction" all bets are off. Even those things he states at the beginning of The Da Vinci Code are invalidated by what the book is. Was Brown actually saying that, or was it merely a part of the fictional narrative? And if so where is the demarcation line where such a text begins and ends?
I can see your point to a degree, but no account can be made for people who take such things for fact.

[edit on 15/10/09 by Extant Taxon]



posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 08:41 AM
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Originally posted by Extant Taxon
Its been quite some time since I read those books, but isn't the operative concept here that they are works of fiction? Whilst such operations in suspension of disbelief can have a powerful effect on the collective psyche, as soon as you open a text marked "fiction" all bets are off. Even those things he states at the beginning of The Da Vinci Code are invalidated by what the book is. Was Brown actually saying that, or was it merely a part of the fictional narrative? And if so where is the demarcation line where such a text begins and ends?
I can see your point to a degree, but no account can be made for people who take such things for fact.
Actually, you see my point entirely. It's unclear to the average reader where exactly the fiction starts and the framework ends. If the first lie is the line that says "every group or ritual contained in this book is true", you can see how there may be some people who still take that as fact because it sits between the title page and the narrative proper. Heck, you've got people on ATS trying to pull real life conspiracy theories out of episodes of The Simpsons, for crying out loud. The rational mind knows fiction when it sees it presented as such, but who's to say that even the majority of people here are rational? And how can one reason with those following along with unfounded conspiracy theories without doing their own due diligence?



posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 01:16 PM
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The answer is, you can't. The best you can do is present people with facts, and point out, as ExtantTaxon did, that fiction means fiction. Irrational people will not be swayed, and pressing them to accept truth is a waste of time.

Brown's message to the Masons was nice. As far as I'm aware, he's about the most prominent non-Mason to speak positively about Freemasonry. Hopefully, as has been said, the book promotes a more in-depth approach to the study of Masonry by people outside and inside the craft, even if it is flawed. Better for people to learn the truth themselves, through their own research, rather than reaching for the the fluff, nonsense and half-truth that is so widespread.

Novels can be a good starting point for independent research. I wouldn't know half the things I know had I not read Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco, and picked up some of the threads contained therein. Recognizing the story as fiction, I was able to follow some very intriguing lines of history on my own, and I'm a better thinker and researcher for it.



posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 04:14 AM
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Originally posted by JoshNorton
Actually, you see my point entirely. It's unclear to the average reader where exactly the fiction starts and the framework ends. If the first lie is the line that says "every group or ritual contained in this book is true", you can see how there may be some people who still take that as fact because it sits between the title page and the narrative proper.


"Truth is a well-known pathological liar. It invariably turns out to be Fiction wearing a fancy frock. Self-proclaimed Fiction, on the other hand, is entirely honest. You can tell this, because it comes right out and says, "I'm a Liar," right there on the dust jacket."

- Alan Moore.




posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 04:19 AM
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reply to post by articulus
 


Foucault's Pendulum is a book I want to read soon. Eco is brilliant. I've read a couple of his books on semiotics so I will be reading "The Name of the Rose" ASAP as this was written to disseminate his theories on semiotics in a more accessible format. But being Eco it still requires focus. A "Key to the Name of the Rose" was even written by professional scholars for lay readers to get to grips with key concepts and have the many Latin phrases translated!



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