Nola found herself looking at a series of postings that had been compressed into a single page for more efficient storage.
“Your keyword document,” Rick said, “is some cipher-punks rambling about Kryptos.”
Nola scanned down the document until she spotted a sentence containing a familiar set of keywords.
Jim, the sculpture says it was transmitted to a secret location UNDERGROUND where the info was hidden.
“This text is from the director’s online Kryptos forum,” Rick explained. “The forum’s been going for years. There are literally thousands of postings. I’m not surprised one of them happened to contain all the keywords.”
Nola kept scanning down until she spotted another posting containing keywords.
Even though Mark said the code’s lat/long headings point somewhere in WASHINGTON, D.C., the coordinates he used were off by one degree--Kryptos basically points back to itself.
Parrish walked over to the statue and ran his palm across the cryptic sea of letters. “A lot of this code has yet to be deciphered, and there are plenty of people who think the message might actually relate to ancient Masonic secrets.”
Nola now recalled murmurs of a Masonic/Kryptos link, but she tended to ignore the lunatic fringe. Then again, looking around at the various pieces of the sculpture arranged around the plaza, she realized that it was a code in pieces—a symbolon—just like the Masonic Pyramid.
For a moment, Nola could almost see Kryptos as a modern Masonic Pyramid—a code in many pieces, made of different materials, each playing a role. “Do you think there’s any way Kryptos and the Masonic Pyramid might be hiding the same secret?”
“Who knows?” Parrish shot Kryptos a frustrated look. “I doubt we’ll ever know the whole message. That is, unless someone can convince the director to unlock his safe and sneak a peek at the solution.”
Nola nodded. It was all coming back to her now. When Kryptos was installed, it arrived with a sealed envelope containing a complete decryption of the sculpture’s codes. The sealed solution was entrusted to then–CIA director William Webster, who locked it in his office safe. The document was allegedly still there, having been transferred from director to director over the years.
Strangely, Nola’s thoughts of William Webster sparked her memory, bringing back yet another portion of Kryptos’s deciphered text:
IT’S BURIED OUT THERE SOMEWHERE.
WHO KNOWS THE EXACT LOCATION?
Although nobody knew exactly what was buried out there, most people believed the WW was a reference to William Webster. Nola had heard whispers once that it referred in fact to a man named William Whiston—a Royal Society theologian—although she had never bothered to give it much thought.
Rick was talking again. “I’ve got to admit, I’m not really into artists, but I think this guy Sanborn’s a serious genius. I was just looking online at his Cyrillic Projector project? It shines giant Russian letters from a KGB document on mind control. Freaky.”
Nola was no longer listening. She was examining the paper, where she had found the third key phrase in another posting.
Right, that whole section is verbatim from some famous archaeologist’s diary, telling about the moment he dug down and uncovered an ANCIENT PORTAL that led to the tomb of Tutankhamen.
The archaeologist who was quoted on Kryptos, Nola knew, was in fact famed Egyptologist Howard Carter. The next posting referenced him by name.
I just skimmed the rest of Carter’s field notes online, and it sounds like he found a clay tablet warning the PYRAMID holds dangerous consequences for anyone who disturbs the peace of the pharaoh. A curse! Should we be worried? :)
Nola scowled. “Rick, for God’s sake, this idiot’s pyramid reference isn’t even right. Tutankhamen wasn’t buried in a pyramid. He was buried in the Valley of the Kings. Don’t cryptologists watch the Discovery Channel?”
Parrish shrugged. “Techies.”
Nola now saw the final key phrase.
Guys, you know I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but Jim and Dave had better decipher this ENGRAVED SYMBOLON to unveil its final secret before the world ends in 2012 . . . Ciao.
“Anyhow,” Parrish said, “I figured you’d want to know about the Kryptos forum before you
accused the CIA director of harboring classified documentation about an ancient Masonic legend. Somehow, I doubt a man as powerful as the CIA director has time for that sort of thing.”
Nola pictured the Masonic video and its images of all the influential men participating in an ancient rite. If Rick had any idea . . .
In the end, she knew, whatever Kryptos ultimately revealed, the message definitely had mystical undertones. She gazed up at the gleaming piece of art—a three-dimensional code standing silently at the heart of one of the nation’s premier intelligence agencies—and she wondered if it would ever give up its final secret.
As she and Rick headed back inside, Nola had to smile.
It’s buried out there somewhere.
This is crazy.
Blindfolded, Robert Langdon could see nothing as the Escalade sped southward along the deserted streets. On the seat beside him, Peter Solomon remained silent.
Where is he taking me?
Langdon’s curiosity was a mix of intrigue and apprehension, his imagination in overdrive as it tried desperately to put the pieces together. Peter had not wavered from his claim. The Lost Word? Buried at the bottom of a staircase that’s covered by a massive, engraved stone? It all seemed impossible.
The stone’s alleged engraving was still lodged in Langdon’s memory . . . and yet the seven symbols, as far as he could tell, made no sense together at all.
The Stonemason’s Square: the symbol of honesty and being “true.”
The letters Au: the scientific abbreviation for the element gold.
The Sigma: the Greek letter S, the mathematical symbol for the sum of all parts.
The Pyramid: the Egyptian symbol of man reaching heavenward.
The Delta: the Greek letter D, the mathematical symbol for change.
Mercury: as depicted by its most ancient alchemical symbol.
The Ouroboros: the symbol of wholeness and at-one-ment.
Solomon still insisted these seven symbols were a “message.” But if this was true, then it was a message Langdon had no idea how to read.
The Escalade slowed suddenly and turned sharply right, onto a different surface, as if into a driveway or access road. Langdon perked up, listening intently for clues as to their whereabouts. They’d been driving for less than ten minutes, and although Langdon had tried to follow in his mind, he had lost his bearings quickly. For all he knew, they were now pulling back into the House of the Temple.
The Escalade came to a stop, and Langdon heard the window roll down.
“Yes, sir,” a sharp military voice replied. “Director Sato phoned ahead. One moment while I move the security barricade.”
Langdon listened with rising confusion, now sensing they were entering a military base. As the car began moving again, along an unusually smooth stretch of pavement, he turned his head blindly toward Solomon. “Where are we, Peter?” he demanded.
“Do not remove your blindfold.” Peter’s voice was stern.
The vehicle continued a short distance and again slowed to a stop. Simkins killed the engine. More voices. Military. Someone asked for Simkins’s identification. The agent got out and spoke to the men in hushed tones.
Langdon’s door was suddenly being opened, and powerful hands assisted him out of the car. The air felt cold. It was windy.
Solomon was beside him. “Robert, just let Agent Simkins lead you inside.”
Langdon heard metal keys in a lock . . . and then the creak of a heavy iron door swinging open. It
sounded like an ancient bulkhead. Where the hell are they taking me?!
Simkins’s hands guided Langdon in the direction of the metal door. They stepped over a threshold. “Straight ahead, Professor.”
It was suddenly quiet. Dead. Deserted. The air inside smelled sterile and processed.
Simkins and Solomon flanked Langdon now, guiding him blindly down a reverberating corridor. The floor felt like stone beneath his loafers.
Behind them, the metal door slammed loudly, and Langdon jumped. The locks turned. He was sweating now beneath his blindfold. He wanted only to tear it off.
They stopped walking now.
Simkins let go of Langdon’s arm, and there was a series of electronic beeps followed by an unexpected rumble in front of them, which Langdon imagined had to be a security door sliding open automatically.
“Mr. Solomon, you and Mr. Langdon continue on alone. I’ll wait for you here,” Simkins said. “Take my flashlight.”
“Thank you,” Solomon said. “We won’t be long.”
Flashlight?! Langdon’s heart was pounding wildly now.
Peter took Langdon’s arm in his own and inched forward. “Walk with me, Robert.”
They moved slowly together across another threshold, and the security door rumbled shut behind them.
Peter stopped short. “Is something wrong?”
Langdon was suddenly feeling queasy and off balance. “I think I just need to take off this blindfold.”
“Not yet, we’re almost there.”
“Almost where?” Langdon felt a growing heaviness in the pit of his stomach.
“I told you—I’m taking you to see the staircase that descends to the Lost Word.”
“Peter, this isn’t funny!”
“It’s not meant to be. It’s meant to open your mind, Robert. It’s meant to remind you that there are mysteries in this world that even you have yet to lay eyes upon. And before I take one more
step with you, I want you to do something for me. I want you to believe . . . just for an instant . . . believe in the legend. Believe that you are about to peer down a winding staircase that plunges hundreds of feet to one of humankind’s greatest lost treasures.”
Langdon felt dizzy. As much as he wanted to believe his dear friend, he could not. “Is it much farther?” His velvet hoodwink was drenched in sweat.
“No. Only a few more steps, actually. Through one last door. I’ll open it now.”
Solomon let go of him for a moment, and as he did so, Langdon swayed, feeling light-headed. Unsteady, he reached out for stability, and Peter was quickly back at his side. The sound of a heavy automatic door rumbled in front of them. Peter took Langdon’s arm and they moved forward again.
They inched across another threshold, and the door slid closed behind them.
Langdon immediately sensed that this place, whatever it was, had nothing to do with the world on the other side of the security doors. The air was dank and chilly, like a tomb. The acoustics felt dull and cramped. He felt an irrational bout of claustrophobia settling in.
“A few more steps.” Solomon guided him blindly around a corner and positioned him precisely. Finally, he said, “Take off your blindfold.”
Langdon seized the velvet hoodwink and tore it from his face. He looked all around to find out where he was, but he was still blind. He rubbed his eyes. Nothing. “Peter, it’s pitch-black!”
“Yes, I know. Reach in front of you. There’s a railing. Grasp it.”
Langdon groped in the darkness and found an iron railing.
“Now watch.” He could hear Peter fumbling with something, and suddenly a blazing flashlight beam pierced the darkness. It was pointed at the floor, and before Langdon could take in his surroundings, Solomon directed the flashlight out over the railing and pointed the beam straight down.
Langdon was suddenly staring into a bottomless shaft . . . an endless winding staircase that plunged deep into the earth. My God! His knees nearly buckled, and he gripped the railing for support. The staircase was a traditional square spiral, and he could see at least thirty landings descending into the earth before the flashlight faded to nothing. I can’t even see the bottom!
“Peter . . .” he stammered. “What is this place!”
“I’ll take you to the bottom of the staircase in a moment, but before I do, you need to see something else.”
Too overwhelmed to protest, Langdon let Peter guide him away from the stairwell and across the strange little chamber. Peter kept the flashlight trained on the worn stone floor beneath their feet, and Langdon could get no real sense of the space around them . . . except that it was small.
A tiny stone chamber.
They arrived quickly at the room’s opposite wall, in which was embedded a rectangle of glass. Langdon thought it might be a window into a room beyond, and yet from where he stood, he saw only darkness on the other side.
“Go ahead,” Peter said. “Have a look.”
“What’s in there?” Langdon flashed for an instant on the Chamber of Reflection beneath the Capitol Building, and how he had believed, for a moment, that it might contain a portal to some giant underground cavern.
“Just look, Robert.” Solomon inched him forward. “And brace yourself, because the sight will shock you.”
Having no idea what to expect, Langdon moved toward the glass. As he neared the portal, Peter turned out the flashlight, plunging the tiny chamber into total darkness.
As his eyes adjusted, Langdon groped in front of him, his hands finding the wall, finding the glass, his face moving closer to the transparent portal.
Still only darkness beyond.
He leaned closer . . . pressing his face to the glass.
Then he saw it.
The wave of shock and disorientation that tore through Langdon’s body reached down inside and spun his internal compass upside down. He nearly fell backward as his mind strained to accept the utterly unanticipated sight that was before him. In his wildest dreams, Robert Langdon would never have guessed what lay on the other side of this glass.
The vision was a glorious sight.
There in the darkness, a brilliant white light shone like a gleaming jewel.
Langdon now understood it all—the barricade on the access road . . . the guards at the main entrance . . . the heavy metal door outside . . . the automatic doors that rumbled open and closed . . . the heaviness in his stomach . . . the lightness in his head . . . and now this tiny stone chamber.
“Robert,” Peter whispered behind him, “sometimes a change of perspective is all it takes to see the light.”
Speechless, Langdon stared out through the window. His gaze traveled into the darkness of the night, traversing more than a mile of empty space, dropping lower . . . lower . . . through the darkness . . . until it came to rest atop the brilliantly illuminated, stark white dome of the U.S. Capitol Building.
Langdon had never seen the Capitol from this perspective—hovering 555 feet in the air atop America’s great Egyptian obelisk. Tonight, for the first time in his life, he had ridden the elevator up to the tiny viewing chamber . . . at the pinnacle of the Washington Monument.
Robert Langdonstood mesmerized at the glass portal, absorbing the power of the landscape below him. Having ascended unknowingly hundreds of feet into the air, he was now admiring one of the most spectacular vistas he had ever seen.
The shining dome of the U.S. Capitol rose like a mountain at the east end of the National Mall. On either side of the building, two parallel lines of light stretched toward him . . . the illuminated facades of the Smithsonian museums . . . beacons of art, history, science, culture.
Langdon now realized to his astonishment that much of what Peter had declared to be true . . . was in fact true. There is indeed a winding staircase . . . descending hundreds of feet beneath a massive stone. The huge capstone of this obelisk sat directly over his head, and Langdon now recalled a forgotten bit of trivia that seemed to have eerie relevance: the capstone of the Washington Monument weighed precisely thirty-three hundred pounds.
Again, the number 33.
More startling, however, was the knowledge that this capstone’s ultimate peak, the zenith of this obelisk, was crowned by a tiny, polished tip of aluminum—a metal as precious as gold in its day. The shining apex of the Washington Monument was only about a foot tall, the same size as the Masonic Pyramid. Incredibly, this small metal pyramid bore a famous engraving—Laus Deo— and Langdon suddenly understood. This is the true message of the base of the stone pyramid.
The seven symbols are a transliteration! The simplest of ciphers. The symbols are letters.
The stonemason’s square—L
The element gold—AU
The Greek Sigma—S
The Greek Delta—D
“Laus Deo,” Langdon whispered. The well-known Latin phrase—meaning “praise God”—was inscribed on the tip of the Washington Monument in script letters only one inch tall. On full display . . . and yet invisible to all.
“Praise God,” Peter said behind him, flipping on the soft lighting in the chamber. “The Masonic
Pyramid’s final code.”
Langdon turned. His friend was grinning broadly, and Langdon recalled that Peter had actually spoken the words “praise God” earlier inside the Masonic library. And I still missed it.
Langdon felt a chill to realize how apt it was that the legendary Masonic Pyramid had guided him here . . . to America’s great obelisk—the symbol of ancient mystical wisdom—rising toward the heavens at the heart of a nation.
In a state of wonder, Langdon began moving counterclockwise around the perimeter of the tiny square room, arriving now at another viewing window.
Through this northward-facing window, Langdon gazed down at the familiar silhouette of the White House directly in front of him. He raised his eyes to the horizon, where the straight line of Sixteenth Street ran due north toward the House of the Temple.
I am due south of Heredom.
He continued around the perimeter to the next window. Looking west, Langdon’s eyes traced the long rectangle of the reflecting pool to the Lincoln Memorial, its classical Greek architecture inspired by the Parthenon in Athens, Temple to Athena—goddess of heroic undertakings.
Annuit coeptis, Langdon thought. God favors our undertaking.
Continuing to the final window, Langdon gazed southward across the dark waters of the Tidal Basin, where the Jefferson Memorial shone brightly in the night. The gently sloping cupola, Langdon knew, was modeled after the Pantheon, the original home to the great Roman gods of mythology.
Having looked in all four directions, Langdon now thought about the aerial photos he had seen of the National Mall—her four arms outstretched from the Washington Monument toward the cardinal points of the compass. I am standing at the crossroads of America.
Langdon continued back around to where Peter was standing. His mentor was beaming. “Well, Robert, this is it. The Lost Word. This is where it’s buried. The Masonic Pyramid led us here.”
Langdon did a double take. He had all but forgotten about the Lost Word.
“Robert, I know of nobody more trustworthy than you. And after a night like tonight, I believe you deserve to know what this is all about. As promised in legend, the Lost Word is indeed buried at the bottom of a winding staircase.” He motioned to the mouth of the monument’s long stairwell.
Langdon had finally started to get his feet back under him, but now he was puzzled.
Peter quickly reached into his pocket and pulled out a small object. “Do you remember this?”
Langdon took the cube-shaped box that Peter had entrusted to him long ago. “Yes . . . but I’m afraid I didn’t do a very good job of protecting it.”
Solomon chuckled. “Perhaps the time had come for it to see the light of day.”
Langdon eyed the stone cube, wondering why Peter had just handed it to him.
“What does this look like to you?” Peter asked.
Langdon eyed the 1514 Sand recalled his first impression when Katherine had unwrapped the package. “A cornerstone.”
“Exactly,” Peter replied. “Now, there are a few things you might not know about cornerstones. First, the concept of laying a cornerstone comes from the Old Testament.”
Langdon nodded. “The Book of Psalms.”
“Correct. And a true cornerstone is always buried beneath the ground-symbolizing the building’s initial step upward out of the earth toward the heavenly light.”
Langdon glanced out at the Capitol, recalling that its cornerstone was buried so deep in the foundation that, to this day, excavations had been unable to find it.
“And finally,” Solomon said, “like the stone box in your hand, many cornerstones are little vaults . . . and have hollow cavities so that they can hold buried treasures . . . talismans, if you will-symbols of hope for the future of the building about to be erected.”
Langdon was well aware of this tradition, too. Even today, Masons laid cornerstones in which they sealed meaningful objects-time capsules, photos, proclamations, even the ashes of important people.
“My purpose in telling you this,” Solomon said, glancing over at the stairwell, “should be clear.”
“You think the Lost Word is buried in the cornerstone of the Washington Monument?”
“I don’t think, Robert. I know. The Lost Word was buried in the cornerstone of this monument on July 4, 1848, in a full Masonic ritual.”
Langdon stared at him. “Our Masonic forefathers buried a word?!”
Peter nodded. “They did indeed. They understood the true power of what they were burying.”
All night, Langdon had been trying to wrap his mind around sprawling, ethereal concepts . . . the
Ancient Mysteries, the Lost Word, the Secrets of the Ages. He wanted something solid, and despite Peter’s claims that the key to it all was buried in a cornerstone 555 feet beneath him, Langdon was having a hard time accepting it. People study the mysteries for entire lifetimes and are still unable to access the power allegedly hidden there. Langdon flashed on Dürer’s Melencolia I—the image of the dejected Adept, surrounded by the tools of his failed efforts to unveil the mystical secrets of alchemy. If the secrets can actually be unlocked, they will not be found in one place!
Any answer, Langdon had always believed, was spread across the world in thousands of volumes . . . encoded into writings of Pythagoras, Hermes, Heraclitus, Paracelsus, and hundreds of others. The answer was found in dusty, forgotten tomes on alchemy, mysticism, magic, and philosophy. The answer was hidden in the ancient library of Alexandria, the clay tablets of Sumer, and the hieroglyphs of Egypt.
“Peter, I’m sorry,” Langdon said quietly, shaking his head. “To understand the Ancient Mysteries is a lifelong process. I can’t imagine how the key could possibly rest within a single word.”
Peter placed a hand on Langdon’s shoulder. “Robert, the Lost Word is not a ‘word.’” He gave a sage smile. “We only call it the ‘Word’ because that’s what the ancients called it . . . in the beginning.”
In thebeginning was the Word.
Dean Galloway knelt at the Great Crossing of the National Cathedral and prayed for America. He prayed that his beloved country would soon come to grasp the true power of the Word—the recorded collection of the written wisdom of all the ancient masters—the spiritual truths taught by the great sages.
History had blessed mankind with the wisest of teachers, profoundly enlightened souls whose understanding of the spiritual and mental mysteries exceeded all understanding. The precious words of these Adepts—Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, Zoroaster, and countless others—had been transmitted through history in the oldest and most precious of vessels.
Every culture on earth had its own sacred book—its own Word—each one different and yet each one the same. For Christians, the Word was the Bible, for Muslims the Koran, for Jews the
Torah, for Hindus the Vedas, and on and on it went.
The Word shall light the way.
For America’s Masonic forefathers, the Word had been the Bible. And yet few people in history have understood its true message.
Tonight, as Galloway knelt alone within the great cathedral, he placed his hands upon the Word—a well-worn copy of his own Masonic Bible. This treasured book, like all Masonic Bibles, contained the Old Testament, the New Testament, and a treasure trove of Masonic philosophical writings.
Although Galloway’s eyes could no longer read the text, he knew the preface by heart. Its glorious message had been read by millions of his brethren in countless languages around the world.
The text read:
TIME IS A RIVER . . . AND BOOKS ARE BOATS. MANY VOLUMES START DOWN THAT STREAM, ONLY TO BE WRECKED AND LOST BEYOND RECALL IN ITS SANDS. ONLY A FEW, A VERY FEW, ENDURE THE TESTINGS OF TIME AND LIVE TO BLESS THE AGES FOLLOWING.
There is a reason these volumes survived, while others vanished. As a scholar of faith, Dean Galloway had always found it astonishing that the ancient spiritual texts—the most studied books on earth—were, in fact, the least understood.
Concealed within those pages, there hides a wondrous secret.
One day soon the light would dawn, and mankind would finally begin to grasp the simple, transformative truth of the ancient teachings . . . and take a quantum leap forward in understanding his own magnificent nature.
The windingstaircase that descends the spine of the Washington Monument consists of 896 stone steps that spiral around an open elevator shaft. Langdon and Solomon were making their way down, Langdon still grappling with the startling fact that Peter had shared with him only moments ago: Robert, buried within the hollow cornerstone of this monument, our forefathers placed a single copy of the Word—the Bible—which waits in darkness at the foot of this
As they descended, Peter suddenly stopped on a landing and swung his flashlight beam to illuminate a large stone medallion embedded in the wall.
What in the world?! Langdon jumped when he saw the carving.
The medallion depicted a frightening cloaked figure holding a scythe and kneeling beside an hourglass. The figure’s arm was raised, and his index finger was extended, pointing directly at a large open Bible, as if to say: “The answer is in there!”
Langdon stared at the carving and then turned to Peter.
His mentor’s eyes shone with mystery. “I’d like you to consider something, Robert.” His voice echoed down the empty stairwell. “Why do you think the Bible has survived thousands of years of tumultuous history? Why is it still here? Is it because its stories are such compelling reading? Of course not . . . but there is a reason. There is a reason Christian monks spend lifetimes attempting to decipher the Bible. There is a reason that Jewish mystics and Kabbalists pore over the Old Testament. And that reason, Robert, is that there exist powerful secrets hidden in the pages of this ancient book . . . a vast collection of untapped wisdom waiting to be unveiled.”
Langdon was no stranger to the theory that the Scriptures contained a hidden layer of meaning, a concealed message that was veiled in allegory, symbolism, and parable.
“The prophets warn us,” Peter continued, “that the language used to share their secret mysteries is a cryptic one. The Gospel of Mark tells us, ‘Unto you is given to know the mystery . . . but it will be told in parable.’ Proverbs cautions that the sayings of the wise are ‘riddles,’ while Corinthians talks of ‘hidden wisdom.’ The Gospel of John forewarns: ‘I will speak to you in parable . . . and use dark sayings.’ ”
Dark sayings, Langdon mused, knowing this strange phrase made numerous odd appearances in Proverbs as well as in Psalm 78. I will open my mouth in a parable and utter dark sayings of old. The concept of a “dark saying,” Langdon had learned, did not mean that the saying was “evil” but rather that its true meaning was shadowed or obscured from the light.
“And if you have any doubts,” Peter added, “Corinthians overtly tells us that the parables have two layers of meaning: ‘milk for babes and meat for men’—where the milk is a watered-down reading for infantile minds, and the meat is the true message, accessible only to mature minds.”
Peter raised the flashlight, again illuminating the carving of the cloaked figure pointing intently at the Bible. “I know you are a skeptic, Robert, but consider this. If the Bible does not contain hidden meaning, then why have so many of history’s finest minds—including brilliant scientists at the Royal Society—become so obsessed with studying it? Sir Isaac Newton wrote more than a million words attempting to decipher the true meaning of the Scripture, including a 1704 manuscript that claimed he had extracted hidden scientific information from the Bible!”
Langdon knew this was true.
“And Sir Francis Bacon,” Peter continued, “the luminary hired by King James to literally create the authorized King James Bible, became so utterly convinced that the Bible contained cryptic meaning that he wrote in his own codes, which are still studied today! Of course, as you know, Bacon was a Rosicrucian and penned The Wisdom of the Ancients.” Peter smiled. “Even the iconoclastic poet William Blake hinted that we should read between the lines.”
Langdon was familiar with the verse:
BOTH READ THE BIBLE DAY AND NIGHT,
BUT THOU READ BLACK WHERE I READ WHITE.
“And it wasn’t just the European luminaries,” Peter continued, descending faster now. “It was here, Robert, at the very core of this young American nation, that our brightest forefathers—John Adams, Ben Franklin, Thomas Paine—all warned of the profound dangers of interpreting the Bible literally. In fact, Thomas Jefferson was so convinced the Bible’s true message was hidden that he literally cut up the pages and reedited the book, attempting, in his words, ‘to do away with the artificial scaffolding and restore the genuine doctrines.’ ”
Langdon was well aware of this strange fact. The Jeffersonian Bible was still in print today and included many of his controversial revisions, among them the removal of the virgin birth and the resurrection. Incredibly, the Jeffersonian Bible had been presented to every incoming member of Congress during the first half of the nineteenth century.
“Peter, you know I find this topic fascinating, and I can understand that it might be tempting for bright minds to imagine the Scriptures contain hidden meaning, but it makes no logical sense to me. Any skilled professor will tell you that teaching is never done in code.”
“Teachers teach, Peter. We speak openly. Why would the prophets—the greatest teachers in history—obscure their language? If they hoped to change the world, why would they speak in code? Why not speak plainly so the world could understand?”
Peter glanced back over his shoulder as he descended, looking surprised by the question. “Robert, the Bible does not talk openly for the same reason the Ancient Mystery Schools were kept hidden . . . for the same reason the neophytes had to be initiated before learning the secret teachings of the ages . . . for the same reason the scientists in the Invisible College refused to share their knowledge with others. This information is powerful, Robert. The Ancient Mysteries cannot be shouted from the rooftops. The mysteries are a flaming torch, which, in the hands of a master, can light the way, but which, in the hands of a madman, can scorch the earth.”
Langdon stopped short. What is he saying? “Peter, I’m talking about the Bible. Why are you talking about the Ancient Mysteries?”
Peter turned. “Robert, don’t you see? The Ancient Mysteries and the Bible are the same thing.”
Langdon stared in bewilderment.
Peter was silent for several seconds, waiting for the concept to soak in. “The Bible is one of the books through which the mysteries have been passed down through history. Its pages are desperately trying to tell us the secret. Don’t you understand? The ‘dark sayings’ in the Bible are the whispers of the ancients, quietly sharing with us all of their secret wisdom.”
Langdon said nothing. The Ancient Mysteries, as he understood them, were a kind of instruction manual for harnessing the latent power of the human mind . . . a recipe for personal apotheosis. He had never been able to accept the power of the mysteries, and certainly the notion that the Bible was somehow hiding a key to these mysteries was an impossible stretch.
“Peter, the Bible and the Ancient Mysteries are total opposites. The mysteries are all about the god within you . . . man as god. The Bible is all about the God above you . . . and man as a powerless sinner.”
“Yes! Exactly! You’ve put your finger on the precise problem! The moment mankind separated himself from God, the true meaning of the Word was lost. The voices of the ancient masters have now been drowned out, lost in the chaotic din of self-proclaimed practitioners shouting that they alone understand the Word . . . that the Word is written in their language and none other.”
Peter continued down the stairs.
“Robert, you and I both know that the ancients would be horrified if they saw how their teachings have been perverted . . . how religion has established itself as a tollbooth to heaven . . . how warriors march into battle believing God favors their cause. We’ve lost the Word, and yet its true meaning is still within reach, right before our eyes. It exists in all the enduring texts, from the Bible to the Bhagavad Gita to the Koran and beyond. All of these texts are revered upon the altars of Freemasonry because Masons understand what the world seems to have forgotten . . . that each of these texts, in its own way, is quietly whispering the exact same message.” Peter’s voice welled with emotion. “ ‘Know ye not that ye are gods?’”
Langdon was struck by the way this famous ancient saying kept surfacing tonight. He had reflected on it while talking to Galloway and also at the Capitol Building while trying to explain The Apotheosis of Washington.
Peter lowered his voice to a whisper. “The Buddha said, ‘You are God yourself.’ Jesus taught that ‘the kingdom of God is within you’ and even promised us, ‘The works I do, you can do . . . and greater.’ Even the first antipope—Hippolytus of Rome—quoted the same message, first uttered by the gnostic teacher Monoimus: ‘Abandon the search for God . . . instead, take yourself as the starting place.’ ”
Langdon flashed on the House of the Temple, where the Masonic Tyler’s chair bore two words of guidance carved across its back: KNOW THYSELF.
“A wise man once told me,” Peter said, his voice faint now, “the only difference between you and God is that you have forgotten you are divine.”
“Peter, I hear you—I do. And I’d love to believe we are gods, but I see no gods walking our earth. I see no superhumans.You can point to the alleged miracles of the Bible, or any other religious text, but they are nothing but old stories fabricated by man and then exaggerated over time.”
“Perhaps,” Peter said. “Or perhaps we simply need our science to catch up with the wisdom of the ancients.” He paused. “Funny thing is . . . I believe Katherine’s research may be poised to do just that.”
Langdon suddenly remembered that Katherine had dashed off from the House of the Temple earlier. “Hey, where did she go, anyway?”
“She’ll be here shortly,” Peter said, grinning. “She went to confirm a wonderful bit of good fortune.”
Outside, at the base of the monument, Peter Solomon felt invigorated as he inhaled the cold night air. He watched in amusement as Langdon stared intently at the ground, scratching his head and looking around at the foot of the obelisk.
“Professor,” Peter joked, “the cornerstone that contains the Bible is underground. You can’t actually access the book, but I assure you it’s there.”
“I believe you,” Langdon said, appearing lost in thought. “It’s just . . . I noticed something.”
Langdon stepped back now and surveyed the giant plaza on which the Washington Monument stood. The circular concourse was made entirely of white stone . . . except for two decorative courses of dark stone, which formed two concentric circles around the monument.
“A circle within a circle,” Langdon said. “I never realized the Washington Monument stands at the center of a circle within a circle.”
Peter had to laugh. He misses nothing. “Yes, the great circumpunct . . . the universal symbol for God . . . at the crossroads of America.” He gave a coy shrug. “I’m sure it’s just a coincidence.”
Langdon seemed far off, gazing skyward now, his eyes ascending the illuminated spire, which shone stark white against the black winter sky.
Peter sensed Langdon was beginning to see this creation for what it truly was . . . a silent reminder of ancient wisdom . . . an icon of enlightened man at the heart of a great nation. Even
though Peter could not see the tiny aluminum tip at the top, he knew it was there, man’s enlightened mind straining toward heaven.
“Peter?” Langdon approached, looking like a man who’d endured some kind of mystical initiation. “I almost forgot,” he said, reaching into his pocket and producing Peter’s gold Masonic ring. “I’ve been wanting to return this to you all night.”
“Thank you, Robert.” Peter held out his left hand and took the ring, admiring it. “You know, all the secrecy and mystery surrounding this ring and the Masonic Pyramid . . . it had an enormous effect on my life. When I was a young man, the pyramid was given to me with the promise that it hid mystical secrets. Its mere existence made me believe there were great mysteries in the world. It piqued my curiosity, fueled my sense of wonder, and inspired me to open my mind to the Ancient Mysteries.” He smiled quietly and slipped the ring into his pocket. “I now realize that the Masonic Pyramid’s true purpose was not to reveal the answers, but rather to inspire a fascination with them.”
The two men stood in silence for a long while at the foot of the monument.
When Langdon finally spoke, his tone was serious. “I need to ask you a favor, Peter . . . as a friend.”
“Of course. Anything.”
Langdon made his request . . . firmly.
Solomon nodded, knowing he was right. “I will.”
“Right away,” Langdon added, motioning to the waiting Escalade.
“Okay . . . but one caveat.”
Langdon rolled his eyes, chuckling. “Somehow you always get the last word.”
“Yes, and there is one final thing I want you and Katherine to see.”
“At this hour?” Langdon checked his watch.
Solomon smiled warmly at his old friend. “It is Washington’s most spectacular treasure . . . and something very, very few people have ever seen.”
Katherine Solomon’sheart felt light as she hurried up the hill toward the base of the Washington Monument. She had endured great shock and tragedy tonight, and yet her thoughts were refocused now, if only temporarily, on the wonderful news Peter had shared with her earlier . . . news she had just confirmed with her very own eyes.
My research is safe. All of it.
Her lab’s holographic data drives had been destroyed tonight, but earlier, at the House of the Temple, Peter had informed her that he had been secretly keeping backups of all her Noetic research in the SMSC executive offices. You know I’m utterly fascinated with your work, he had explained, and I wanted to follow your progress without disturbing you.
“Katherine?” a deep voice called out.
She looked up.
A lone figure stood in silhouette at the base of the illuminated monument.
“Robert!” She hurried over and hugged him.
“I heard the good news,” Langdon whispered. “You must be relieved.”
Her voice cracked with emotion. “Incredibly.” The research Peter had saved was a scientific tour de force—a massive collection of experiments that proved human thought was a real and measurable force in the world. Katherine’s experiments demonstrated the effect of human thought on everything from ice crystals to random-event generators to the movement of subatomic particles. The results were conclusive and irrefutable, with the potential to transform skeptics into believers and affect global consciousness on a massive scale. “Everything is going to change, Robert. Everything.”
“Peter certainly thinks so.”
Katherine glanced around for her brother.
“Hospital,” Langdon said. “I insisted he go as a favor to me.”
Katherine exhaled, relieved. “Thank you.”
“He told me to wait for you here.”
Katherine nodded, her gaze climbing the glowing white obelisk. “He said he was bringing you here. Something about ‘Laus Deo’? He didn’t elaborate.”
Langdon gave a tired chuckle. “I’m not sure I entirely understand it myself.” He glanced up at the top of the monument. “Your brother said quite a few things tonight that I couldn’t get my mind around.”
“Let me guess,” Katherine said. “Ancient Mysteries, science, and the Holy Scriptures?”
“Welcome to my world.” She winked. “Peter initiated me into this long ago. It fueled a lot of my research.”
“Intuitively, some of what he said made sense.” Langdon shook his head. “But intellectually . . .”
Katherine smiled and put her arm around him. “You know, Robert, I may be able to help you with that.”
Deep inside the Capitol Building, Architect Warren Bellamy was walking down a deserted hallway.
Only one thing left to do tonight, he thought.
When he arrived at his office, he retrieved a very old key from his desk drawer. The key was black iron, long and slender, with faded markings. He slid it into his pocket and then prepared himself to welcome his guests.
Robert Langdon and Katherine Solomon were on their way to the Capitol. At Peter’s request, Bellamy was to provide them with a very rare opportunity—the chance to lay eyes upon this building’s most magnificent secret . . . something that could be revealed only by the Architect.
High abovethe floor of the Capitol Rotunda, Robert Langdon inched nervously around the circular catwalk that extended just beneath the ceiling of the dome. He peered tentatively over the railing, dizzied by the height, still unable to believe it had been less than ten hours since Peter’s hand had appeared in the middle of the floor below.
On that same floor, the Architect of the Capitol was now a tiny speck some hundred and eighty feet below, moving steadily across the Rotunda and then disappearing. Bellamy had escorted Langdon and Katherine up to this balcony, leaving them here with very specific instructions.
Langdon eyed the old iron key that Bellamy had handed to him. Then he glanced over at a cramped stairwell that ascended from this level . . . climbing higher still. God help me. These narrow stairs, according to the Architect, led up to a small metal door that could be unlocked with the iron key in Langdon’s hand.
Beyond the door lay something that Peter insisted Langdon and Katherine see. Peter had not elaborated, but rather had left strict instructions regarding the precise hour at which the door was to be opened. We have to wait to open the door? Why?
Langdon checked his watch again and groaned.
Slipping the key into his pocket, he gazed across the gaping void before him at the far side of the balcony. Katherine had walked fearlessly ahead, apparently unfazed by the height. She was now halfway around the circumference, admiring every inch of Brumidi’s The Apotheosis of Washington, which loomed directly over their heads. From this rare vantage point, the fifteen-foot-tall figures that adorned the nearly five thousand square feet of the Capitol Dome were visible in astonishing detail.
Langdon turned his back to Katherine, faced the outer wall, and whispered very quietly, “Katherine, this is your conscience speaking. Why did you abandon Robert?”
Katherine was apparently familiar with the dome’s startling acoustical properties . . . because the wall whispered back. “Because Robert is being a chicken. He should come over here with me. We have plenty of time before we’re allowed to open that door.”
Langdon knew she was right and reluctantly made his way around the balcony, hugging the wall as he went.
“This ceiling is absolutely amazing,” Katherine marveled, her neck craned to take in the enormous splendor of the Apotheosis overhead. “Mythical gods all mixed in with scientific inventors and their creations? And to think this is the image at the center of our Capitol.”
Langdon turned his eyes upward to the sprawling forms of Franklin, Fulton, and Morse with their technological inventions. A shining rainbow arched away from these figures, guiding his eye to George Washington ascending to heaven on a cloud. The great promise of man becoming God.
Katherine said, “It’s as if the entire essence of the Ancient Mysteries is hovering over the Rotunda.”
Langdon had to admit, not many frescoes in the world fused scientific inventions with mythical gods and human apotheosis. This ceiling’s spectacular collection of images was indeed a message of the Ancient Mysteries, and it was here for a reason. The founding fathers had
envisioned America as a blank canvas, a fertile field on which the seeds of the mysteries could be sown. Today, this soaring icon—the father of our country ascending to heaven—hung silently above our lawmakers, leaders, and presidents . . . a bold reminder, a map to the future, a promise of a time when man would evolve to complete spiritual maturity.
“Robert,” Katherine whispered, her gaze still fixated on the massive figures of America’s great inventors accompanied by Minerva. “It’s prophetic, really. Today, man’s most advanced inventions are being used to study man’s most ancient ideas. The science of Noetics may be new, but it’s actually the oldest science on earth—the study of human thought.” She turned to him now, her eyes filled with wonder. “And we’re learning that the ancients actually understood thought more profoundly than we do today.”
“Makes sense,” Langdon replied. “The human mind was the only technology the ancients had at their disposal. The early philosophers studied it relentlessly.”
“Yes! The ancient texts are obsessed with the power of the human mind. The Vedas describe the flow of mind energy. The Pistis Sophia describes universal consciousness. The Zohar explores the nature of mind spirit. The Shamanic texts predict Einstein’s ‘remote influence’ in terms of healing at a distance. It’s all there! And don’t even get me started about the Bible.”
“You, too?” Langdon said, chuckling. “Your brother tried to convince me that the Bible is encoded with scientific information.”
“It certainly is,” she said. “And if you don’t believe Peter, read some of Newton’s esoteric texts on the Bible. When you start to understand the cryptic parables in the Bible, Robert, you realize it’s a study of the human mind.”
Langdon shrugged. “I guess I’d better go back and read it again.”
“Let me ask you something,” she said, clearly not appreciating his skepticism. “When the Bible tells us to ‘go build our temple’ . . . a temple that we must ‘build with no tools and making no noise,’ what temple do you think it’s talking about?”
“Well, the text does say your body is a temple.”
“Yes, Corinthians 3:16. You are the temple of God.” She smiled at him. “And the Gospel of John says the exact same thing. Robert, the Scriptures are well aware of the power latent within us, and they are urging us to harness that power . . . urging us to build the temples of our minds.”
“Unfortunately, I think much of the religious world is waiting for a real temple to be rebuilt. It’s part of the Messianic Prophecy.”
“Yes, but that overlooks an important point. The Second Coming is the coming of man—the moment when mankind finally builds the temple of his mind.”
“I don’t know,” Langdon said, rubbing his chin. “I’m no Bible scholar, but I’m pretty sure the
Scriptures describe in detail a physical temple that needs to be built. The structure is described as being in two parts—an outer temple called the Holy Place and an inner sanctuary called the Holy of Holies. The two parts are separated from each other by a thin veil.”
Katherine grinned. “Pretty good recall for a Bible skeptic. By the way, have you ever seen an actual human brain? It’s built in two parts—an outer part called the dura mater and an inner part called the pia mater. These two parts are separated by the arachnoid—a veil of weblike tissue.”
Langdon cocked his head in surprise.
Gently, she reached up and touched Langdon’s temple. “There’s a reason they call this your temple, Robert.”
As Langdon tried to process what Katherine had said, he flashed unexpectedly on the gnostic Gospel of Mary: Where the mind is, there is the treasure.
“Perhaps you’ve heard,” Katherine said, softly now, “about the brain scans taken of yogis while they meditate? The human brain, in advanced states of focus, will physically create a waxlike substance from the pineal gland. This brain secretion is unlike anything else in the body. It has an incredible healing effect, can literally regenerate cells, and may be one of the reasons yogis live so long. This is real science, Robert. This substance has inconceivable properties and can be created only by a mind that is highly tuned to a deeply focused state.”
“I remember reading about that a few years back.”
“Yes, and on that topic, you’re familiar with the Bible’s account of ‘manna from heaven’?”
Langdon saw no connection. “You mean the magical substance that fell from heaven to nourish the hungry?”
“Exactly. The substance was said to heal the sick, provide everlasting life, and, strangely, cause no waste in those who consumed it.” Katherine paused, as if waiting for him to understand. “Robert?” she prodded. “A kind of nourishment that fell from heaven?” She tapped her temple. “Magically heals the body? Creates no waste? Don’t you see? These are code words, Robert! Temple is code for ‘body.’ Heaven is code for ‘mind.’ Jacob’s ladder is your spine. And manna is this rare brain secretion. When you see these code words in Scripture, pay attention. They are often markers for a more profound meaning concealed beneath the surface.”
Katherine’s words were coming out in rapid-fire succession now, explaining how this same magical substance appeared throughout the Ancient Mysteries: Nectar of the Gods, Elixir of Life, Fountain of Youth, Philosopher’s Stone, ambrosia, dew, ojas, soma. Then she launched into an explanation about the brain’s pineal gland representing the all-seeing eye of God. “According to Matthew 6:22,” she said excitedly, “ ‘when your eye is single, your body fills with light.’ This concept is also represented by the Ajna chakra and the dot on a Hindu’s forehead, which—”
Katherine stopped short, looking sheepish. “Sorry . . . I know I’m rambling. I just find this all so
exhilarating. For years I’ve studied the ancients’ claims of man’s awesome mental power, and now science is showing us that accessing that power is an actual physical process. Our brains, if used correctly, can call forth powers that are quite literally superhuman. The Bible, like many ancient texts, is a detailed exposition of the most sophisticated machine ever created . . . the human mind.” She sighed. “Incredibly, science has yet to scratch the surface of the mind’s full promise.”
“It sounds like your work in Noetics will be a quantum leap forward.”
“Or backward,” she said. “The ancients already knew many of the scientific truths we’re now rediscovering. Within a matter of years, modern man will be forced to accept what is now unthinkable: our minds can generate energy capable of transforming physical matter.” She paused. “Particles react to our thoughts . . . which means our thoughts have the power to change the world.”
Langdon smiled softly.
“What my research has brought me to believe is this,” Katherine said. “God is very real—a mental energy that pervades everything. And we, as human beings, have been created in that image—”
“I’m sorry?” Langdon interrupted. “Created in the image of . . . mental energy?”
“Exactly. Our physical bodies have evolved over the ages, but it was our minds that were created in the image of God. We’ve been reading the Bible too literally. We learn that God created us in his image, but it’s not our physical bodies that resemble God, it’s our minds.”
Langdon was silent now, fully engrossed.
“This is the great gift, Robert, and God is waiting for us to understand it. All around the world, we are gazing skyward, waiting for God . . . never realizing that God is waiting for us.” Katherine paused, letting her words soak in. “We are creators, and yet we naively play the role of ‘the created.’ We see ourselves as helpless sheep buffeted around by the God who made us. We kneel like frightened children, begging for help, for forgiveness, for good luck. But once we realize that we are truly created in the Creator’s image, we will start to understand that we, too, must be Creators. When we understand this fact, the doors will burst wide open for human potential.”
Langdon recalled a passage that had always stuck with him from the work of the philosopher Manly P. Hall: If the infinite had not desired man to be wise, he would not have bestowed upon him the faculty of knowing. Langdon gazed up again at the image of The Apotheosis of Washington—the symbolic ascent of man to deity. The created . . . becoming the Creator.
“The most amazing part,” Katherine said, “is that as soon as we humans begin to harness our true power, we will have enormous control over our world. We will be able to design reality rather than merely react to it.”
Langdon lowered his gaze. “That sounds . . . dangerous.”
Katherine looked startled . . . and impressed. “Yes, exactly! If thoughts affect the world, then we must be very careful how we think. Destructive thoughts have influence, too, and we all know it’s far easier to destroy than it is to create.”
Langdon thought of all the lore about needing to protect the ancient wisdom from the unworthy and share it only with the enlightened. He thought of the Invisible College, and the great scientist Isaac Newton’s request to Robert Boyle to keep “high silence” about their secret research. It cannot be communicated, Newton wrote in 1676, without immense damage to the world.
“There’s an interesting twist here,” Katherine said. “The great irony is that all the religions of the world, for centuries, have been urging their followers to embrace the concepts of faith and belief. Now science, which for centuries has derided religion as superstition, must admit that its next big frontier is quite literally the science of faith and belief . . . the power of focused conviction and intention. The same science that eroded our faith in the miraculous is now building a bridge back across the chasm it created.”
Langdon considered her words for a long time. Slowly he raised his eyes again to the Apotheosis. “I have a question,” he said, looking back at Katherine. “Even if I could accept, just for an instant, that I have the power to change physical matter with my mind, and literally manifest all that I desire . . . I’m afraid I see nothing in my life to make me believe I have such power.”
She shrugged. “Then you’re not looking hard enough.”
“Come on, I want a real answer. That’s the answer of a priest. I want the answer of a scientist.”
“You want a real answer? Here it is. If I hand you a violin and say you have the capability to use it to make incredible music, I am not lying. You do have the capability, but you’ll need enormous amounts of practice to manifest it. This is no different from learning to use your mind, Robert. Well-directed thought is a learned skill. To manifest an intention requires laserlike focus, full sensory visualization, and a profound belief. We have proven this in a lab. And just like playing a violin, there are people who exhibit greater natural ability than others. Look to history. Look to the stories of those enlightened minds who performed miraculous feats.”
“Katherine, please don’t tell me you actually believe in the miracles. I mean, seriously . . . turning water into wine, healing the sick with the touch of a hand?”
Katherine took a long breath and blew it out slowly. “I have witnessed people transform cancer cells into healthy cells simply by thinking about them. I have witnessed human minds affecting the physical world in myriad ways. And once you see that happen, Robert, once this becomes part of your reality, then some of the miracles you read about become simply a matter of degree.”
Langdon was pensive. “It’s an inspiring way to see the world, Katherine, but for me, it just feels
like an impossible leap of faith. And as you know, faith has never come easily for me.”
“Then don’t think of it as faith. Think of it simply as changing your perspective, accepting that the world is not precisely as you imagine. Historically, every major scientific breakthrough began with a simple idea that threatened to overturn all of our beliefs. The simple statement ‘the earth is round’ was mocked as utterly impossible because most people believed the oceans would flow off the planet. Heliocentricity was called heresy. Small minds have always lashed out at what they don’t understand. There are those who create . . . and those who tear down. That dynamic has existed for all time. But eventually the creators find believers, and the number of believers reaches a critical mass, and suddenly the world becomes round, or the solar system becomes heliocentric. Perception is transformed, and a new reality is born.”
Langdon nodded, his thoughts drifting now.
“You have a funny look on your face,” she said.
“Oh, I don’t know. For some reason I was just remembering how I used to canoe out into the middle of the lake late at night, lie down under the stars, and think about stuff like this.”
She nodded knowingly. “I think we all have a similar memory. Something about lying on our backs staring up at the heavens . . . opens the mind.” She glanced up at the ceiling and then said, “Give me your jacket.”
“What?” He took it off and gave it to her.
She folded it twice and laid it down on the catwalk like a long pillow. “Lie down.”
Langdon lay on his back, and Katherine positioned his head on half of the folded jacket. Then she lay down beside him—two kids, shoulder to shoulder on the narrow catwalk, staring up at Brumidi’s enormous fresco.
“Okay,” she whispered. “Put yourself in that same mind-set . . . a kid lying out in a canoe . . . looking up at the stars . . . his mind open and full of wonder.”
Langdon tried to obey, although at the moment, prone and comfortable, he was feeling a sudden wave of exhaustion. As his vision blurred, he perceived a muted shape overhead that immediately woke him. Is that possible? He could not believe he hadn’t noticed it before, but the figures in The Apotheosis of Washington were clearly arranged in two concentric rings—a circle within a circle. The Apotheosis is also a circumpunct? Langdon wondered what else he had missed tonight.
“There’s something important I want to tell you, Robert. There’s another piece to all this . . . a piece that I believe is the single most astonishing aspect of my research.”
Katherine propped herself on her elbow. “And I promise . . . if we as humans can honestly grasp this one simple truth . . . the world will change overnight.”
She now had his full attention.
“I should preface this,” she said, “by reminding you of the Masonic mantras to ‘gather what is scattered’ . . . to bring ‘order from chaos’ . . . to find ‘at-one-ment.’ ”
“Go on.” Langdon was intrigued.
Katherine smiled down at him. “We have scientifically proven that the power of human thought grows exponentially with the number of minds that share that thought.”
Langdon remained silent, wondering where she was going with this idea.
“What I’m saying is this . . . two heads are better than one . . . and yet two heads are not twice better, they are many, many times better. Multiple minds working in unison magnify a thought’s effect . . . exponentially. This is the inherent power of prayer groups, healing circles, singing in unison, and worshipping en masse. The idea of universal consciousness is no ethereal New Age concept. It’s a hard-core scientific reality . . . and harnessing it has the potential to transform our world. This is the underlying discovery of Noetic Science. What’s more, it’s happening right now. You can feel it all around you. Technology is linking us in ways we never imagined possible: Twitter, Google, Wikipedia, and others—all blend to create a web of interconnected minds.” She laughed. “And I guarantee you, as soon as I publish my work, the Twitterati will all be sending tweets that say,