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Harold F. Hester

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The DaVinci Code Commentaires de Roman
By Harold F. Hester
Thursday, February 09, 2006

Rated "PG13" by the Author.

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The Da Vinci Code novel raised many questions for me. I am sharing some as I sort others.

What do you know about the Holy Grail?
What do you know about Leonardo Da Vinci?
What do you know about the painting named the Last Supper?
Why is the lady of the Mona Lisa smiling?

Just when I think I have life figured out something changes. As for the Holy Grail, I always though I knew ‘what’ the Grail was and the ‘where’ question was either France or England. Wars have been waged, fortunes made and lost, people have killed or died seeking the Holy Grail for two-thousand years and it is still being sought, for many reasons. All but one of these reasons comes from people much higher in the food-chain then I, so, I just figured they would tell me when they knew. I think the DaVinci Code did that, but…I wonder.

I have just finished reading and thoroughly enjoyed the novel The Da Vinci Code and now feel I may have been misguided in my cloistered thinking about life. Why? Because, now grays have overtaken the “blacks” and “whites” of truths as I know them.

Libraries, book stores and many homes have books and novels. I have only a few; but, Barns & Noble and Amazon have millions. Have you ever wondered where those books and novels come from? Do you even know what a novel is? Where they come from is easy. Folks like you and I write them. Those of us that are really bad at telling stories are called Wannabees. The rest of us authors are called Writers. Writers are better at telling a story then the wannabees; but, never-the-less only a story teller. Writers do it on a regular basis but every once in awhile a wannabee will get lucky and write an untold story which may have many gray areas, half-truths or fabricated facts which reads well. It is most probable the kind of story which puts a tear in your eye and a smile on the lips at the same time it is putting doubt in your mind. You writers do that with ease, grace and intelligence. Even when telling true accountings from life we wannabees are prone to have us our license-to-fib to embellish or make the story-line more readable or as my publisher once called it, tongue-in-cheek Literary License. As a third-class wannabee I use that license when the truth just doesn’t sound right or makes my protagonist sound too lackadaisical or wimpiest or I am trying to make a point and the truth doesn’t do it. Hay, it is my license to fib.

True, writers are not wannabees like I and can get their point across in a normal gender non-specific structured action verb, adjective, noun, pronoun or adverb sentences and not need to ramble in run-on sentences looking for meaningless words which go on and on until readers decides you forgot where the period key is so you just keep writing until an idea entered your head. Dan Brown is a Writer.

I almost didn’t write this short story; but after the germ of an idea took shape and the first draft was outlined in my head, the idea would not go away. So…as a wannabee I have to say once again I really enjoyed The Da Vinci Code. It was a page-turner, a bit hard to follow in spots but nevertheless a damn good tale. Those parts I did not understand, I knew (hoped might be a better word) their true meaning would somehow sneak into my subconscious before the story ended. For over 450 pages and many sleepless nights the novel has made me think, and wonder. Sitting here at my keyboard watching the sun transition from a dark orange to a brilliant white and the black of the sky adjusting from its grays to a majestic unambiguous blue, the morning comes to life and bewilderment and awe deepen and…I wonder.

Is it Memorex or is it real?
Is it just an accomplished story told by a master writer?
Is it truth or just an Urban Legend or maybe just a hell of a story?
Who or what can be believed?
My dad always told me “…don’t believe anything you hear or read and only half of what you see…” but, dad was never sober long enough to tell me why he felt that way.

Words written two thousand years ago… are they factual? I have a tendency to believe ancient words because it was not until the turn of the 21st century it became fashionable to lie. If an answer is hard to come by, think about the year 4006AD. Two thousand years from now. As these words are read then, will they be believed as factual?

As a youth, I attended a Baptist Church in the south. It was not the Southern Baptist which comes to mind with fire and brimstone sermons, even though I had an uncle that was your typical Southern Baptist minister who singed his mustache every week. My Baptist church was just a church which happened to be in the south. I have never liked the idea of believing in Heaven because I was terrified of a fire and brimstone eternity. During my clumsy years and to this day during my stupid times, I sometimes severally burn parts of my body and can not associate that kind of pain - for an Eternity. My head tells me no God can be that cruel. Having said that, streets paved with gold, fluffy clouds, eternal happiness and winged, perfect people is also difficult to believe - sometimes. Imagine it, yes hope for it, yes but, actual belief is difficult for anyone that can use only a small percent of a mediocre brain to begin with. It is estimated that Einstein used only 10% of his brain; so, we mere mortals use a lot less.

Have you ever noticed older people always have well-worn bibles or qurans and even ouija boards close at hand? They are studying for finals.

Truth or literary license? If ancient words can’t be believed and if there is no after-life or life everlasting, I feel the real waste of a human life are those that take a vow of poverty or chastity. An unadulterated belief in anything is all powerful and the cornerstone of family and respectable human beings. I envy a person who can devote a life to a Belief. Personally, I am too weak and always tend to bend with the wind. Creature comforts, the feel of smooth, hot flesh and the cooling down afterglow while you catch your breath from making love with another person is indescribable. I am weak, but I… wonder.

What are my religious beliefs? Many times they are confused. I do not attend church on a regular basis; but, I believe in and chat with God daily. As a baptized, Protestant I spent many years on my knees in Catholic schools and attended daily Mass listening to “…hail Mary full of Grace…” until I was afraid of girls. As time passed and I traveled the world I, witnessed Buddhist monks reduced to ashes for a belief, youth defying military tanks for a belief and groups drinking arsenic-laced tea while others commit suicide in their bunk beds as comets passed. They had a belief and… I wonder.

I raised a son in a Methodist environment; had a Seventh-day-Adventist brother-in-law, have lived in the Far-East where Buddha was the law of the land, enjoyed mass participation and group sing-along of black gospels and the full music and stage productions of present day Lutherans. Our world takes all kind of people…and every person is an individual and we all have our beliefs.

All religions have the word of their God.

It is the interpretation of that word is turning my hair gray. For example, I can understand the statement, “…will always be…”, but, the one that gives me the most trouble understanding is, “…has always been…” Doesn’t everything begin – somewhere? Or maybe, it’s just that percentage of my intellect again? Kinda makes a person…. wonder.

My son with a 3.8 GPA is a EE college graduate and agnostic who believes in the big-bang theory of creation. A very close and ultra-religious friend that is true -catholic believes in God, Purgatory, hell and the sanctity of women and family told me unequivocally the DaVinci novel is “…Pure Fiction”. Makes me… wonder.

Of the twenty-two Major religions of the world which include: Christianity, Islam, Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist, Hinduism, Chinese traditional religion, Buddhism, primal-indigenous, African Traditional & Diasporic, Sikhism, Juche, Spiritism, Judaism, Baha'I, Jainism, Shinto, Cao Dai, Zoroastrianism,
Tenrikyo, Neo-Paganism, Unitarian-Universalism, Rastafarianism, Scientology and also includes the 45 churches grouped under Christianity… ALL BELIEVE. I personally don’t understand the difference between the Sunni and Shi'ite but then when a billion people practice it, I don’t need to know, but… I wonder.

Would you like a bit of food for your brain so it does not atrophy today? Think about this: Was Jesus married? Was Mary Madeleine a prostitute or wife of Jesus? Did Jesus have a family, a daughter? Is there a Holy Grail? Is the Grail a ‘thing’ or something else? Don’t answer off the top of your head, think about it. I did and some of the answers made me…wonder.

In my early twenties, I was fortunate to live in 1950s Paris, France. Monuments were black with age and soot, untainted beauty on one side of an avenue and darkness on the other. It was the City of Love and physical loving could be witnessed most any day down by the banks of the Seine. Artists lived and created on broken sidewalks, whores became wives and mothers, and white-flag factors flourished, but sometimes…I wondered.

In my four years in Paris, I spent endless hours in a rundown building called the Louvre. I was twenty-four years old and dumb as a stick by any measure. I graduated college but that was all book-knowledge. I didn’t have a clue about life and especially life of other cultures and times. Until I left home for college, I thought all people were red-necked white hillbillies who spoke with a southern accent. Fifty years later, I still have a Texas twang and am completely people color blind. Color of skin doesn’t bother me. It is stupid people that roast my chops. But, I do know that …stupid is that stupid does… The Louvre then and now is a treasure house of the Masters – painters and sculptors alike, it is those that create using God-given talents. Be it commissioned or individual ideas, master pieces were created and survived. Paintings are more than pictures. Sculptors do more with marble and limestone than merely sculpt. Did you know or are you cognizant that all painting and statues tells stories? The Sistine Chapel is a prime example as is the Last Supper and as are the undeveloped pictures in your camera. Winged Victory is…. well, I don’t want to go into that.

My well read and religious friend who told me the DaVinci Code was fiction is infinitely smarter then I, so I will merely pass on his and a few other comments from people of influence that now reflect, after reading the DaVinci Code novel, some of my new thinking: But I still… wonder.

"1. Has this book changed your ideas about faith, religion, or history?
2. Would you rather live in a world without religion…or a world without science?
3. Will you look at the artwork of Da Vinci any differently now that you know more about his "secret life?"
4. A stunning new thriller that will provoke much debate. Dan Brown's extensive research on secret societies and symbology adds intellectual depth to this page-turning thriller. His surprising revelations on Da Vinci's penchant for hiding codes in his paintings will lead the reader to search out renowned artistic icons as The Mona Lisa, The Madonna of the Rocks and The Last Supper. The Last Supper holds the most astonishing coded secrets of all and, after reading The Da Vinci Code, you will never see this famous painting in quite the same way again."

Although the Grail myths and stories date to 5 BC, there is no mention of the Holy Grail in the Bible.
Leonardo Da Vinci lived in the fifteenth century and was an Italian painter, draftsman, sculptor, architect, and engineer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance humanist ideal.
The Last Supper is not a “picture” but a fifteenth century interpretation and pure conjecture of Jesus and his disciples gathering for a last time – Matthew 26
Conjecture can be typified by the disembodied hand holding a dagger and the presence of Marie Magdalene depicted in the supper.
Mona Lisa’s face is androgynous and is smiling because her name is an anagram of the divine union of male and female – AMON (Egyptian god of fertility) and L’ISA (goddess of fertility) AMON L’ISA or Mona Lisa.
A novel is new and unusual, can be fictional, is length and is about people.
A story can be fictional but is more about “things” and is shorter than a novel.

If you don't read the novel, the movie is to be released on 16 May 2006.

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Reviewed by Safi 5/22/2006
Went to see the movie yesterday with my husband and son, and left halfway through. Didn't impress me, too childless for my taste. My college going daughter told me the book is much better, so bought the book after I left the movie, and I intend to read it, for just curiosity's sake and entertainment.

With regards to the reality of life, the Creator or His Messengers, I don't need DaVinci Code to unravel any magical truths about Isa (christened Jesus), the son of Mary, or his mother, Mary.

The Quran, which happens to be the unnadulterated Last Word of the Creator to Humanity tells me all that I need to know about these great humans.

Thank you for the brilliant story, I suggest that you keep asking questions while you still can….there will come a day when it wont be necessary to ask…as the answers will be there right in your face…then it might be a tad too late to enjoy the answers.

Truly enjoyed your writings…wouldn’t class you as a wannabe…you write too well for that!


Reviewed by Birgit and Roger Pratcher 5/19/2006
We have to agree with Jerry, the novel was very entertaining and is probably the best he wrote, his style has imrpoved and it reads easy. Your article was as entertaining and thought provoking and in the end, we would prefer a world with religion and science, even if it makes us appear a bit greedy...As far as research is concernd, Dan Brown did do an outstanding job, as well as you did! Great write! Thanks for sharing,
Birgit and Roger
Reviewed by Jerry Bolton 2/14/2006
I loved the book. A fantastic read. Is Brown all wet? don't know. don't care. I read it for entertainment and it did that. Was I titilated by thinking certain things about the Virgin Mary, or The Last Supper, or Mona Lisa, damn straight I was. Brown knows how to bring it, of that I am in awe.
Reviewed by Leland Waldrip 2/10/2006
I'd have to say you've gone past the wannabe stage and into the writer category. Like you, I found many aspects of the novel intriguing, not the least of which was Dan Brown's research efforts, which I'm sure is not descriptive of the Roman Church's reaction.
Best regards,
Reviewed by Chrissy McVay 2/9/2006
Well...this held my interest, and that's a sure sign of a writer. When it comes to religion, perhaps it's better to bend with the wind. Those who are too rigid often snap, mentally or physically. I grew up in the fire and brimstone, speaking in tongues baptist world as a child and saw a few go 'loopy loo'. I enjoyed your perspective, and will take heed not to start reading the Da Vinci Code until the weekend when I can stay up late...
Chrissy K. McVay

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