Origin

by Dan Brown (Doubleday, 2017)

Here are very interesting lines from this gripping novel:

* … had been an insatiable bibliophile—reading everything in sight.

* 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.

Everyone respects those who live by a code.

* No decisions. No culpability. Just action. After a career of giving commands, it was a relief to relinquish the helm and let others steer this ship.

* Righteousness exists in many forms.

* … museum air was the same worldwide—filtered meticulously of all particulates and oxidants and then moistened with ionized water to 45 percent humidity.

* I hope Ludwig van Beethoven gets his cut… fairly certain that the original inventor of bone conduction technology was the eighteenth-century composer who, upon going deaf, discovered he could affix a metal rod to his piano and bite down on it while he played, enabling him to hear perfectly through vibrations in his jawbone.

* … a reminder from God that humankind was not meant to understand all things.

* Nostradamus wrote nearly a thousand loosely worded quatrains that, over four centuries, have benefited from the creative readings of superstitious people looking to extract meaning where there is none.

* Where do we come from? Where are we going? Human creation and human destiny They are the universal mysteries.

* Scientists and spiritualists often use different vocabularies to describe the exact same mysteries of the universe. The conflicts are frequently over semantics, not substance.

* You do know that sometimes honesty is not the best policy?

* It’s called Head On… Ninety-nine wolves racing blindly into a wall to symbolize a herd mentality, a lack of courage in diverging from the norm.

* Five hundred dollars at an electronics store… being one of several Harvard professors who now used portable cell-jamming technology to render their lecture halls “dead zones” and keep students off their devices during class.

* Spiritual beliefs are etched deeply on our psyches at a young age by those we love and trust most—our parents, our teachers, our religious leaders. Therefore, any religious shifts occur over generations, and not without great angst, and often bloodshed.

* If we could look into the human mind and read its operating system, we would find something like this: DESPISE CHAOS. CREATE ORDER.

* And because not every religion offers the same answers, entire cultures end up warring over whose answers are correct, and which version of God’s story is the One True Story.

* But faith… by its very definition, requires placing your trust in something that is unseeable and indefinable, accepting as fact something for which there exists no empirical evidence. 

* … faith always survives, even in the face of great hardship.

* Fake news now carries as much weight as real news.

* Infinite Hallway… imagine yourself walking down a long hallway—a corridor so long that it’s impossible to see where you came from or where you’re going. Then, behind you in the distance… you hear the sound of a bouncing ball. Sure enough, when you turn, you see a ball bouncing toward you. It is bouncing closer and closer, until it finally bounces past you, and just keeps going, bouncing into the distance and out of sight… The question is: Why is it bouncing? How did it start bouncing? Did someone kick it? Is it a special ball that simply enjoys bouncing? Are the laws of physics in this hallway such that the ball has no choice but to bounce forever? … Just like in evolution. we cannot see far enough into the past to know how the process began… All we can do is observe that it is happening.

* … humans, despite being God’s most sublime creation, were still just animals at the core, their behavior driven to a great extent by a quest for creature comforts. We comfort our physical bodies in hopes our souls will follow.

* [I] had always believed in the importance of responsible journalism as a cornerstone of freedom and democracy… disappointed by journalists who incited controversy by broadcasting ideas that were patently absurd—all the while avoiding legal repercussions by simply turning every ludicrous statement into a leading question.

* Men plan, and God laughs.

* Churchill: You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something!

* Antoni Gaudi: Nothing is invented, for it’s written in nature first. Originality consists of returning to the origin.

* Newton’s Third Law of Child Rearing: For every lunacy, there is an equal and opposite lunacy.

* Nietzche: Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.

* … that 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. There comes a time when we must do as Jesus did and forcefully throw over the money tables, shouting: ‘This will not stand!’

* All I am saying is that if there is a divine force behind the universe…

* The most self-righteous in life become the most fearful in death.

* Remember death. Even for those who wield great power, life is brief. There is only one way to triumph over death, and that is by making our lives masterpieces. We must seize every opportunity to show kindness and to love fully… Your conscience will be your guide. When life is dark, let your heart show you the way.

* There has never been an intellectual advancement that has not included God.

* Darwin: If we admit a First Cause, the mind still craves to know whence it came and how it arose.

* Churchill: Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.

* We are the sum of the interactions taking place within the mechanism.

* This is entropy at work. Waves never crash onto beaches and deposit sand in the shape of a sand castle. Entropy dissolves structures.

* We know the universe promotes entropy and disorder… so we may be surprised to see so many examples of molecules organizing themselves… All of these are examples of ‘dissipative structures’—collections of molecules that have arranged themselves in structures that help a system disperse its energy more efficiently.

* To efficiently create chaos requires some order.

* life is an exceptionally effective tool for dissipating energy.

* Where do we come from? — we come from nowhere … and from everywhere.

* … tweening… It’s a computer animation shortcut in which an artist asks a computer to generate the intermediate frames between two key images, morphing the first image smoothly into the second image, essentially filling in the gaps. Rather than having to draw every single frame by hand, artists nowadays can draw a few of the key frames… and then ask the computer to take its best guess at the intermediary steps and fill in the rest…

* New species of technology are being born daily, evolving at a blinding rate, and each new technology becomes a tool to create other new technologies. The invention of the computer has helped us build astonishing new tools, from smartphones to spaceships to robotic surgeons. We are witnessing a burst of innovation that is happening faster than our minds can comprehend. And we are the creators of this new kingdom—the Technium.

* Human beings are evolving into something different… We are becoming a hybrid species—a fusion of biology and technology.  The same tools that today live outside our bodies—in fifty years will be incorporated into our bodies…

* We are now perched on a strange cusp of history… a time when the world feels like it’s been turned upside down, and nothing is quite as we imagined. But uncertainty is always a precursor to sweeping change; transformation is always preceded by upheaval and fear. I urge you to place your faith in the human capacity for creativity and love, because these two forces, when combined, possess the power to illuminate any darkness.

* 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 price of greatness … is responsibility.’

* I ask your indulgence in allowing me to read you a prayer… Prayer for the future… 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… And dare I say… Godspeed.

* There is nothing more damaging for children than the loss of hope.

* My faith will never die… It dwells beyond your realm of science.

* If the prophecy about technology’s takeover were true, humanity was about to enter a period of almost unimaginable ethical ambiguity. We will need faith and moral guidance now more than ever.

* … a benevolent Creator designed the universe specifically to support life.

* Religious communities cooperate better than nonreligious communities and therefore flourish more readily.  This is a scientific fact!

* Anthropological data clearly showed that cultures practicing religions historically had outlived non-religious cultures.  Fear of being judged by a omniscient deity always helps inspire benevolent behavior.

* History will be kind to me, for I intend to write 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.

* Jorge Santayana: Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

* … that tyranny and oppression are no match for compassion… that the fanatical shouts of the bullies of the world are invariably silenced by the unified voices of decency that rise up to meet them.

* Ever since I was a child, I’ve had the gut sense that there’s a consciousness behind the universe.  When I witness the precision of mathematics, the reliability of physics, and the symmetries of the cosmos, I don’t feel like I’m observing cold science; I feel as if I’m seeing a living footprint … the shadow of some greater force that is just beyond our grasp.

* True or False? I + XI = X.  View the equation from the other end of the screen.  Sometimes, all you have to do is shift your perspective to see someone else’s truth.

* Love is not a finite emotion.  We don’t have only so much to share.  Our hearts create love as we need it… It can be generated spontaneously out of nothing at all.

* Dialogue is always more important than consensus.

* … nothing blurred ethical lines faster than human greed.

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