Have you read Dan Brown's latest book, The Lost Symbol? I have. And it disappointed me in a way that I thought it would be as compelling, as powerful, as almost-factual-I-almost-believed-it-is-not fiction. Twelve hours later, disappointment turned into something else.

By morning, when I had finished the book, I was as intellectually challenged. It reminded me of those soul-searching questions I have always wrestled with:

Does God exist?

Is there a soul?

If there is, what happens to it when we die?

What is the purpose of life?

What if there is no God?

If there is, how will we know?

Can all the world's religions and spiritual systems be read essentially as one large vision of humanity's quest for connections to the larger universe?

Is there a physicality to the mind, the soul, and human thoughts?

Do the latest advances in science reveal who we really are and what our place in the universe is?

There is a scene in The Lost Symbol when Robert Langdon and Katherine Solomon are lying on their backs, gazing up at the magnificent mythic fresco, The Apotheosis of Washington, that fills the top of the Capitol Dome, like two kids, shoulder to shoulder, contemplating the meaning of life, after their heroic night of revelatory adventure. It reminds me of the moonless cloudless nights when I stare at the depth of space, feeling humbled by the wonder of it all. I think we all did this at some point in our lives. So, too, did people in all societies from prehistory to the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, Medieval alchemists, Renaissance humanists, Galileo, Newton, and even Benjamin Franklin who was known for discussing the big questions with his "lunatic society" on moonlit nights. When we were kids, and especially during adolescence and early adulthood, we reflect upon those big questions.But as we grow older, most of us stop and instead
come to believe, convinced that there are no satisfactory answers to the bigger existential questions and simply continue on life's journey. This is what I like about The Lost Symbol. It gave me an opportunity to revisit those big questions.