Simon Cox is an interesting man. For a long time he was a researcher for some of the leading authors in the alternative history field, like Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval. More recently, he has become a best-selling author himself. His latest book is called Decoding the Lost Symbol. It is a reader’s guide to the names and places and ideas mentioned by Dan Brown in his latest novel, The Lost Symbol. Previously, Simon wrote a similar book called Cracking the Da Vinci Code, about Dan Brown’s classic blockbuster novel. I first met Simon a few years ago, when I was on a lecture tour with Robert Bauval in California. Simon and I stayed in touch off and on, and in September of 2009, Simon invited me to be a speaker at a conference he was organizing for the launch of his book Decoding the Lost Symbol. The conference was held at the Glendale Hilton in Los Angeles on November 8, 2009.
Dan Brown has made a fortune mining the work of researchers in the alternative history field. For his novel The Da Vinci Code, Brown mined the research of authors like Henry Lincoln, Michael Baigent, and Richard Leigh, among others, who have dug deeply into the mysteries of the relationship between Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. I have met some of these Grail mystery and sacred bloodline researchers, having spoken at alternative history conferences in the United Kingdom and elsewhere with them. I don’t begrudge Dan Brown his success, even if it is based on research done by others. He was smart enough to see that this underground, alternative research, which was known only to small, specialized audiences, could be turned into a fictional mainstream phenomenon. Any one of the alternative researchers could have done the same—written a novel based on his factual research. It just turned out that Dan Brown was the one who saw the potential and did it.
In The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown has entered into my turf. In his latest novel, he has made use of the kinds of research I have documented in my book Human Devolution: A Vedic Alternative to Darwin’s Theory. The theme of my book is that human beings are not just chemical machines. We are ultimately beings of pure consciousness. We did not evolve up from matter, as most scientists now believe. Instead, we devolved, or came down, from a realm of pure consciousness. And the main purpose of human civilization is (or should be) to return to that realm, by transforming consciousness. As the title of my book shows, my work is inspired by the ancient Sanskrit writings of India, such as the Bhagavad-gita, the Upanishads, and the Puranas (histories), which have a lot in common with the writings of other wisdom traditions, ranging from Greek philosophy to Kabbalah.
In The Lost Symbol (p. 59), one of the main characters, Peter Solomon, says to his sister Katherine, a research scientist: “Modern polarity is nothing but the ‘dual world’ described by Krishna here in the Bhagavad-gita over two thousand years ago.” Peter’s point was that many crucial developments in modern science were known to the ancient wisdom traditions of the world. Peter went on to say, correctly, that the pioneering quantum physicists Werner Heisenberg and Erwin Schrödinger studied the Upanishads and credited them with helping formulate some of their theories.
In my book Human Devolution, I proposed that a human being is not just a combination of the chemical elements. A human being is composed of three components: a physical body made of the chemical elements, a mental body (or mind) capable of influencing ordinary matter in unusual ways, and a conscious self capable of existing apart from matter. When I speak of mind and consciousness, I do not mean temporary byproducts of bioelectrical activity in the brain. I mean real things, with their own independent existence. Although this idea that we are composed of matter, mind, and consciousness is found in ancient wisdom traditions, there is also a lot of scientific evidence to support it.
There is much evidence showing that the human mind can influence ordinary matter in ways that we cannot explain by our ordinary laws of physics. In Human Devolution, I explained how Robert Jahn, head of the engineering department at Princeton University, set up a special research group to investigate this phenomenon. The group made use of random number generators (or random event generators) in their experiments. A random number generator is a computer-like machine that will generate as an output a genuinely random series of zeros and ones. If you let the machines run by themselves, they will generate fifty percent zeros and fifty percent ones, as you would expect. But Jahn and his coworkers recruited students to sit in front of the machines and will mentally that they produce more zeros than ones, or more ones than zeros. The experimenters found the subjects were actually able to do it. This research turns up in The Lost Symbol (p. 55): “Experiments at facilities like . . . the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Lab (PEAR) had categorically proven that human thought, if properly focused, had the ability to affect and change physical mass.” Several other references to the random event generator research appear throughout The Lost Symbol.
The mind also has powers of extrasensory perception. In Human Devolution, I documented extensive scientific research in this area, including the remote viewing experiments and operations carried out by United States government military and civilian intelligence agencies. This research is also mentioned in The Lost Symbol (p. 291): “In 1995, the ‘Stargate/Scannate’ scandal had exposed a classified CIA technology called remote viewing—a kind of telepathic mind travel that enabled a ‘viewer’ to transport his mind’s eye to any location on earth and spy there, without being physically present.”
But beyond the mind is the conscious self. The conscious self is the real self, the self that knows what its mind and body are doing. This self can exist apart from the body. In my book Human Devolution, I documented scientific evidence that shows this, including medical investigations of out-of-body experiences. This research also turns up in The Lost Symbol (p. 395): “A soul or consciousness or life force could move outside the realm of the body. . . . Medical journals were filled with stories of patients who had died on the operating table, viewed their bodies from above, and then had been brought back to life.”
More evidence for a conscious self that can exist outside the body (and survive the death of the body) comes from research into past life memories. In my book Human Devolution, I documented the work of Ian Stevenson and his coworkers, who have extensively studied this. The topic of reincarnation comes up in They Lost Symbol (p. 391), where Dan Brown has his character Katherine Solomon recall some talks she had with her brother Peter Solomon: “A year ago, Katherine and her brother had been discussing one of philosophy’s most enduring questions—the existence of the human soul—specifically the issue of whether or not humans possessed some kind of consciousness capable of survival outside of the body. They both sensed that such a human soul probably did exist. Most ancient philosophies concurred. Buddhist and Brahminical wisdom endorsed metempsychosis—the transmigration of the soul into a new body after death.”
I mentioned all these things in my lecture about my book Human Devolution at the conference organized by Simon Cox. I like conferences like this. It’s a good chance to get together with other researchers in the alternative science and alternative history fields. There was an interesting musical interlude at the conference, provided by John Payne, former lead singer of the rock group Asia and his current bandmate, keyboardist Erik Norlander. They call their project Architects of Time and are putting together a concept album with alternative history themes. During one of the conference breaks, I had an interesting talk with Payne. He was curious about animal behavior, what some call instincts. I proposed that many of these behaviors are so complex that they could not have arisen by evolutionary mechanisms. I believe they were programmed into the minds of animals by higher intelligences in the cosmos, as shown in the recent book Nature’s IQ, by a couple of researchers from Hungary.
Anyways, I do not find fault with Dan Brown for making use of the same research I used in Human Devolution. Novels and films based on them are effective means of mass communication. I just wish those of us in the alternative history and alternative science fields were better at mainstreaming our own research and ideas. Furthermore, I do hope that those who were intrigued by the kinds of things Dan Brown wrote about in The Lost Symbol will go to the original sources of his ideas in scientific research and the ancient wisdom traditions.
Michael A. Cremo is author, with Richard Thompson, of the underground classic Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race. His latest book is Human Devolution: A Vedic Alternative to Darwin’s Theory (see www.humandevolution.com).