(This is a continuation of my thoughts about The Lost Symbol from my previous post.)
One of the themes taken up again and again in Dan Brown’s latest novel The Lost Symbol is the idea of power in group thinking and concentration. Katherine’s character in particular is engaged in the scientific study of producing physical changes through the power of group thought and concentrated collective intention. In connection with this, the practice of prayer circles is brought up:
The shocking discovery, it seemed, paralleled the ancient spiritual belief in a “cosmic consciousness”—a vast coalescing of human intention that was actually capable of interacting with physical matter. Recently, studies in mass meditation and prayer had produced similar results in Random Event Generators, fueling the claim that human consciousness, as Noetic author Lynne McTaggart described it, was a substance outside the confines of the body . . . a highly ordered energy capable of changing the physical world.
In another place, Brown continues:
Galloway knew, of course, that one needn’t go to a lab to witness proof of this bold new idea, this proposal of man’s untapped potential. This very cathedral held healing prayer circles for the sick, and repeatedly had witnessed truly miraculous results, medically documented physical transformations. The question was not whether God had imbued man with great powers . . . but rather how we liberate those powers.
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.”
Prayer circles have been defined as where participants join hands in a circle of prayer, often as part of a vigil. Such circles have existed for a very long time (see my paper “The Genesis of the Round Dance“). They are witnessed today in even the simplest act of joining hands around the dinner table while saying grace. Hugh Nibley wrote extensively about their use in early Christianity in his paper “The Early Christian Prayer Circle.” In that paper he said: [Read more…]