Below is an audio recording of Dan Brown’s talk in Amsterdam today, including questions and answers. Also a transcript of the question I asked him and his response (at 01hr 01min 01 sec on recording 🙂 ).
It was lightweight talk. He’s very friendly and refreshing. He talked much about his parents influence on the Religion – Science tension (mother was a church organist, father was a mathematician). He did dwell for a short while on the importance of the mystical traditions, but not for long. Also talk on the writing process and book to film process. If I hadn’t asked the question, I think the whole evening would have gone by without serious mention of the major global issues he raises in Inferno. When he did speak about it in response, he was authentic and powerful – but then lightened the atmosphere at the end again with a joke. Hard for him to hold the tension of what he actually knows and writes about.
Peter Merry: I’d like to ask about the relationship between two themes in your Langdon series. Firstly the relationship between ancient wisdom traditions and new science, which you identified earlier as having interconnectedness as common ground. Secondly the state of the world and an interlocking cascade of crises that you focus on in Inferno. It’s my sense that our ability to integrate the insights of ancient wisdom and new science in our thinking and practice will directly impact our ability to navigate the unprecedented turbulence ahead of us. What’s your opinion?
Dan Brown: You’re absolutely correct and let’s hope we have time. … In the case of Dante and making it relevant to the world, was putting overpopulation in the novel as a driving force. The idea that Dante’s Inferno is not history. It’s a prophecy that we’re headed for a very ugly future, if we’re not careful. In the last 80 years the population on planet earth has tripled. Some people say that the rate of population growth is slowing. Well, I’d say it’s like getting in your car, and driving 100 mph towards a cliff, and about 5 feet before the cliff you break a little bit. It’s a little too late. So you’re absolutely right. We’re going to have to navigate some very turbulent times. And I’m not talking 100 years from now. Turbulent times in the next decades. And let’s hope that our spirituality and philosophy can keep pace with our technology. Or else we’re in a whole lot of trouble.