Hard to imagine they support a IQ, he mused to himself. He stared after her a long time. Finally he shook his head as she disappeared in the distance. The enormous letters read: crypto. Sighing, she placed her hand inside the recessed cipher box and entered her five-digit PIN. Seconds later the twelve-ton slab of steel began to revolve. She tried to focus, but her thoughts reeled back to him. David Becker. The only man she'd ever loved. The youngest full professor at Georgetown University and a brilliant foreign-language specialist, he was practically a celebrity in the world of academia.
Born with an eidetic memory and a love of languages, he'd mastered six Asian dialects as well as Spanish, French, and Italian. His university lectures on etymology and linguistics were standing-room only, and he invariably stayed late to answer a barrage of questions. He spoke with authority and enthusiasm, apparently oblivious to the adoring gazes of his star-struck coeds. Becker was dark-a rugged, youthful thirty-five with sharp green eyes and a wit to match.
His strong jaw and taut features reminded Susan of carved marble. Over six feet tall, Becker moved across a squash court faster than any of his colleagues could comprehend. After soundly beating his opponent, he would cool off by dousing his head in a drinking fountain and soaking his tuft of thick, black hair. Then, still dripping, he'd treat his opponent to a fruit shake and a bagel. As with all young professors, David's university salary was modest.
From time to time, when he needed to renew his squash club membership or restring his old Dunlop with gut, he earned extra money by doing translating work for government agencies in and around Washington. It was on one of those jobs that he'd met Susan. It was a crisp morning during fall break when Becker returned from a morning jog to his three-room faculty apartment to find his answering machine blinking.
He downed a quart of orange juice as he listened to the playback. The message was like many he received-a government agency requesting his translating services for a few hours later that morning. The only strange thing was that Becker had never heard of the organization. The reply was always the same. They said Agency. The NSA. Puzzled, Becker called one of his old squash buddies, an ex-political analyst turned research clerk at the Library of Congress.
David was shocked by his friend's explanation. Apparently, not only did the NSA exist, but it was considered one of the most influential government organizations in the world. It had been gathering global electronic intelligence data and protecting U. Only 3 percent of Americans were even aware it existed. He drove the thirty-seven miles to their eighty-six-acre headquarters hidden discreetly in the wooded hills of Fort Meade, Maryland.
After passing through endless security checks and being issued a six-hour, holographic guest pass, he was escorted to a plush research facility where he was told he would spend the afternoon providing "blind support" to the Cryptography Division-an elite group of mathematical brainiacs known as the code-breakers. For the first hour, the cryptographers seemed unaware Becker was even there. They hovered around an enormous table and spoke a language Becker had never heard.
They spoke of stream ciphers, self-decimated generators, knapsack variants, zero knowledge protocols, unicity points. Becker observed, lost. They scrawled symbols on graph paper, pored over computer printouts, and continuously referred to the jumble of text on the overhead projector.
The scrambled text was a code-a "cipher text"-groups of numbers and letters representing encrypted words. The cryptographers' job was to study the code and extract from it the original message, or "cleartext. For two hours, Becker interpreted an endless stream of Mandarin symbols. But each time he gave them a translation, the cryptographers shook their heads in despair. Apparently the code was not making sense.
Eager to help, Becker pointed out that all the characters they'd shown him had a common trait-they were also part of the Kanji language. Instantly the bustle in the room fell silent. The man in charge, a lanky chain-smoker named Morante, turned to Becker in disbelief. He explained that Kanji was a Japanese writing system based on modified Chinese characters.
He'd been giving Mandarin translations because that's what they'd asked for. The cryptographers were duly impressed, but nonetheless, they still made Becker work on the characters out of sequence. Then he noticed nobody else was laughing. When the code finally broke, Becker had no idea what dark secrets he'd helped reveal, but one thing was for certain-the NSA took code-breaking seriously; the check in Becker's pocket was more than an entire month's university salary.
On his way back out through the series of security check points in the main corridor, Becker's exit was blocked by a guard hanging up a phone. Becker, wait here, please. The guard shrugged. She's on her way out now. He had yet to see a female inside the NSA. Becker turned and immediately felt himself flush.
He eyed the ID card on the woman's blouse. Becker took it. I hear you did a fine job today. Might I chat with you about it? It quickly became evident to David that the thirty-eight-year-old's high-ranking position at the NSA was no fluke-she was one of the brightest women he had ever met.
As they discussed codes and code-breaking, Becker found himself struggling to keep up-a new and exciting experience for him. An hour later, after Becker had obviously missed his squash match and Susan had blatantly ignored three pages on the intercom, both of them had to laugh. There they were, two highly analytical minds, presumably immune to irrational infatuations-but somehow, while they sat there discussing linguistic morphology and pseudo-random number generators, they felt like a couple of teenagers-everything was fireworks.
Susan never did get around to the real reason she'd wanted to speak to David Becker-to offer him a trial post in their Asiatic Cryptography Division. It was clear from the passion with which the young professor spoke about teaching that he would never leave the university. Susan decided not to ruin the mood by talking business.
She felt like a schoolgirl all over again; nothing was going to spoil it. And nothing did. Susan found herself laughing more than she'd ever thought possible. It seemed there was nothing David couldn't twist into a joke. It was a welcome release from the intensity of her post at the NSA.
One crisp, autumn afternoon they sat in the bleachers watching Georgetown soccer get pummeled by Rutgers. Georgetown's left wing sent a corner-kick sailing out of bounds, and a boo went up from the crowd. The defensemen hurried back downfield. Susan leaned over and whispered in David's ear.
I need to know who I'm with. Squash racquet string of champions. Susan thought a minute. Over dessert at all-night diners Becker would ask endless questions. Where had she learned mathematics? How did she end up at the NSA? How did she get so captivating? Susan blushed and admitted she'd been a late bloomer.
Lanky and awkward with braces through her late teens, Susan said her Aunt Clara had once told her God's apology for Susan's plainness was to give her brains. A premature apology, Becker thought. Susan explained that her interest in cryptography had started in junior high school. The president of the computer club, a towering eighth grader named Frank Gutmann, typed her a love poem and encrypted it with a number-substitution scheme. Susan begged to know what it said. Muraresku's writing is sometimes very good.
He can turn a phrase and turns in insightful zingers every now and again. One question I always ask about a book: What is it about? In one sentence or phrase. I could not meet that challenge with this book much as I tried. Ask my wife. The best I can do is describe the book's 3 themes: 1. How Christianity emerged with rituals the Eucharist, the Catholic mass and traits male-only priesthood. As discontinuous innovation or continuations from Greek and Roman rituals and traits?
Noting all apparent similarities. The role of hallucinogenic drugs in Greek, Roman, and Christian religious traditions. And on spirituality in general. More on this later. The Roman Catholic Church's inhumane and brutal campaigns to develop and enforce its orthodoxy during its first 1, years. Suppression of the Gnostics and their gospels, with a special hell reserved for women. The role of drugs in the discussion threw me off. Muraresku begins by leaping from how hallucinogenic drugs help terminal cancer patients to a prediction that these drugs will spur a new reformation.
Tripping puts the individual in touch with the divine. No intermediaries or rituals like holy communion required. I don't buy it and I'd never read an entire book on that thesis. The role that hallucinogenic drugs played in Greek, Roman, and proto-Christian religions warranted a footnote -- or perhaps a chapter about about mystics, offshoot sects, and heretics.
Muraresku constantly brings the topic front and center. The book was too long. Muraresku uses his years-long journey of discovery to tie together his three themes. His fellow travelers, sources, and guides were all interesting. But the journey structure forced Muraresku to write frequent reminders about earlier conclusions and evidence. These added text when all I wanted was for the book to end.
A too-long afterward recounting everything I'd read was the last thing I wanted to see at the end of this tome! One of the or the most influential book of the 21st century. Could we be blinded all this centuries? Intentionally blinded by the institutions that were supposedly set up to preserve our moral values and connect us with the divine? Brian Muraresku takes you on a fascinating journey to discover how a religion with no name has influenced the cultural development of humankind since the last ice age til the dawn of christianity.
The religion that was based on the concept of practicing to die before y One of the or the most influential book of the 21st century. The religion that was based on the concept of practicing to die before you die - by means of ingesting psychedelic substances and connecting with the divine - and praised by the likes of Socrates and Pythagoras.
The religion that was intentionally silenced by the bureaucracy of the most influential institution of western civilization - Roman Catholic church. And not only silenced, but also vilified and erased from our collective psyche. The author makes a compelling case for the war of Catholic church on heresy and witchcraft to be the roots of the war on drugs, which was later continued by US bureaucrats - all in a bloody quest against the development of endogenous spirituality without the consent of church fathers or, later, the government.
This book will open your eyes to the true history of religion. And make you reflect on the true meaning of the global psychedelic renaissance that is currently underway. All in the best tradition of a proper scientific research - strictly no woo woo. As a bonus, the book is very well narrated by the author. Frankly, it's the first audiobook I listen to where jokes sound like actual jokes as the the author gives them just the right flavor. Jan 23, Forrest rated it really liked it.
At the risk of sounding like a 's B-horror movie title, I was a teenage drug-fiend. I was 12 or 13, I can't quite remember, when I started experimenting with pot, speed, cocaine, opium, depressants, and, of course, one of the most insidious drugs of all, alcohol.
By the time I was 18, I had pumped enough chemicals in my body for a lifetime, so when I came about one judge's signature away form a term in federal prison, I quit. Cold turkey. And I've been clean since. One thing I ne At the risk of sounding like a 's B-horror movie title, I was a teenage drug-fiend. One thing I never tried was psychedelics. The war on drugs and the now comical portrayal of psychedelic's use on '70s and '80s television frankly scared me away from them.
I'd been brainwashed really good. Thanks, Nancy. Fast forward several decades. I have a much more "measured" view of drug and alcohol use. There are plenty of people out there who can safely and responsibly use drugs and alcohol without becoming an addict, like I did. And I realize now that medications have their place and can really benefit people's lives.
Then again, as an aside, I think there should be MUCH stiffer penalties for drunk driving, but that's a rant for a different time. And I avoid alcohol like the plague. I know that its no good for me and I'm not good with it. Now I've done a fair amount of research into psychedelics, mostly being interested in micro-dosing after having listened to a couple of podcasts that touched on the subject. Pretty soon, I started seeing articles popping up here and there - my UW alumni magazine , for instance, or Discover Magazine - about the efficacy of psychedelic treatments for PTSD, in particular, and in easing the fears and worries of terminal cancer patients.
It's been a bit of a revelation, so much so that I think we might be on the edge of a revolution in medicine. I was discussing this with my oldest son this past Thanksgiving as he was visiting from grad school. He told me about a podcast interview regarding this very subject.
I asked for a link and took some time to listen to Lex Fridman's interview of author Brian Muraresku about his new book The Immortality Key. After listening to that, I put the book on my Christmas wish list, and my son obliged.
I raised that boy well, he's a man now right. The general premise of Muraresku's thesis is this: There is a possibility, a strong possibility, backed by some thin threads of evidence, that the history of psychedelics in societal use may be the backbone of the history of religion, particularly sacramental religions like the cult of Dionysus or even Christianity. Of course, he's crazy, right? I don't think so. That's not to say that I'm fully convinced. The evidence is oftentimes tentative, with much more research needing to be done.
Or it's based on what I will call "negative historiography," the notion that a certain things absence from the historical record proves its existence by the very void created in the process of the intentional removal of such evidence by the winners of history; in this case, the Catholic Church. But that's not to say I'm not fully convinced, either. I'm taking a tentative lean towards believing Muraresku's thesis, partly because he acknowledges, in the end, that this is a work-in-progress.
I will say, though, that some evidentiary gaps that are "leaped" in the middle of the text, are later given some logical breathing room, some more critical looks, in the afterword. My biggest issue with the book is connecting the dots from the Dionysian cultic use of psychedelics in the Middle East to the early Christian house churches of Anatolia. In the midst of the presentation of evidence, Muraresku's arguments sound like they apply to all of Christianity, even if he doesn't explicitly say so.
But later he acknowledges that it may have been only a very small part of the initial Christian movement across the Mediterranean. The evidence is scant, but Muraresku's eagerness to get the point across makes his arguments sound like there is tacit proof that the use of psychedelics in the early Christian sacrament was a given. Over-enthusiasm sometimes clouds the argument. A little more restraint might have gone a great way in easing me into accepting the trail of evidence more readily.
Time will tell if archaeobotanical and archaeochemical analysis can fill the gaps. I sincerely hope they do. Because what Muraresku is talking about here is not a bunch of stoners sitting in the basement with a bong listening to Phish. He's talking about humans finding real meaning in the psychedelic experience. He's talking about "dying before you die," which has an absolutely profound effect on those who experience it - he goes over this extensively.
He's talking about experiential religion, the type of real life events that can make real life changes in the way people view themselves, each other, nature, and reality, seeing the cosmos, the earth, and all humans anew. There is an optimism here that "the religion with no name" can bring some fundamental changes to the whole of the human race, Aldous Huxley's dream come true.
And he might just be right. Time will tell. Sep 25, Angelo Santacroce rated it it was ok. OK, I marked it as read, but only made it halfway. While I enjoyed the cliff hanger chapter endings before the "break to commercial", it got a little old and tedious by page Plus, since I was willing to accept the premise that the historical Jesus assuming he existed -- big if did indeed pa OK, I marked it as read, but only made it halfway.
Plus, since I was willing to accept the premise that the historical Jesus assuming he existed -- big if did indeed participate in the use of hallucinogenic plants to enhance the funeral rites common to many Greco-Jewish, proto-Christian cults of the time, it would have been no big reveal to discover actual evidence of such on page No spoiler since I didn't even check I really hesitate to recommend this book, not because the subject matter is uninteresting religious cannibalism is always a grabber, i.
I hesitate because it has too much of the pseudo-academic "what if" narrative style and hyperbolic titles employed by such sensationalist writers as Graham Hancock "Fingerprints of the Gods" btw he wrote this book's intro or Erich von Daniken "Chariot of the Gods".
My intuition tells me that Muraresku spent a lot of time and capital going down this rabbit hole and came up with only enough material for a slim paper. That paper then ballooned to a page book so as to justify the time and travel spent, and to recoup costs for the publisher. It did lead me to some interesting research on early Christian history though Nov 22, Josh rated it really liked it Shelves: christianity , mythology , history , religion.
Not too bad. I was initially worried; the foreword and opening chapter led me to think the book would contain only a swath of new age spiritualism, which does not interest me. However, that was not the case. The book, instead, focused more on ancient to medieval history and anthropology around the Mediterranean. The information ranged from interesting Trivial Pursuit factoids, to legitimately fascinating dives into ancient cultural rituals.
The main things that took me out of the book were the aut Not too bad. The main things that took me out of the book were the author's frequent digressions to describe his personal "quest" to uncover the content. To me, these passages were dull and felt like unnecessary padding.
By the end, I was not quite convinced by his psychedelic Eucharist theories, but the book certainly presents several "well, maybe? Oct 10, Ivan T rated it it was amazing. My favourite book of The author Brian takes you along on his 12 year journey to discover the mysteries of the religion with no name, and its one hell of a journey. Cannot recommended this book enough and to Brian thank you for this gem and your hard work and dedication. Oct 15, Chad Axe rated it it was amazing. Excellent read I have the Audible edition and it is read by the author It really comes down to who was getting stoned at Church and who wasn't.
Gnosis comes from the Plants! Apr 07, Travis Timmons rated it liked it. Three stars for the immense labor Muraresku put into this passion project--the scholarship read, interviews made, traveling done, putting his Classics education to work, etc. The book's first half, the hunt for evidence of psychedelic use in the ancient Greek world, is the book's better half.
From other book reviews I've read, Muraresku digging up an obscure Catalonia piece of scholarship is worth the price of admission. On a writing level, Muraresku's personal-heavy narrative works best in this Three stars for the immense labor Muraresku put into this passion project--the scholarship read, interviews made, traveling done, putting his Classics education to work, etc.
On a writing level, Muraresku's personal-heavy narrative works best in this half it becomes almost insufferable in the second half. However, the book's second half is a frustrating, cluttered, and bluntly reasoned attempt to "prove" the pagan continuity hypothesis.
In this half, Muraresku engages hardly any counterfactuals; for example, the possibility that millions, can indeed, have very meaningful spiritual experience without drugs being involved. Nor does he seem to give Christianity enough credit for the way it was able to instrumentalize and ultimately overcome its Hellenistic influences.
Look, I have no doubt that many people in the ancient and probably in the early Christian world had hallucinogenic experiences. In some ways, it's weirdly comforting to think they did. However, and here Muraresku dodges a big question, so what? Christianity can still be what it is, even if you grant Muraresku the historical case he tries to make.
In fact, isn't the persistent success and longevity of Christianity even more impressive if you consider that all Christians aren't getting high every Sunday even if some of them may have in the Early Church? Perhaps, in our world of John Hopkins and NYU's psilocybin studies for instance, we can have it both ways?
Jun 26, Kim rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Those who question. Shelves: non-fiction , kindle-library , religion. This author's journey has more questions than answers, but I'm grateful that he asked, that he searched unrelentingly, and that he wrote it down!
I thoroughly enjoyed it and welcomed all of the questions and the implications if Muraresku's hypothesis turns out to be right. I don't think even Muraresku would consider ANY of his research conclusive. He is continuing a conversation that is long overdue. Great fodder for discussion with almost no one in my social circle, so I will continue to have s This author's journey has more questions than answers, but I'm grateful that he asked, that he searched unrelentingly, and that he wrote it down!
Great fodder for discussion with almost no one in my social circle, so I will continue to have schizophrenic conversations with myself until someone I know reads this book. Please read it. Some one. View all 4 comments. May 16, Angeli Srirangan rated it it was ok.
May 15, Steve Greenleaf rated it it was amazing Shelves: hx , science , philosophy-spirituality , religion , narrative-nonfiction. And I must say that the comparison is apt. In short, Muraresku combines an intellectual adventure tale—including hints of intrigue— with a travelogue around the Mediterranean and through time. The secret— or rather secrets— that Muraresku pursues are those of ancient beverages.
He and colleagues and their predecessors in this search believe that some of those beverages— beers and wines— may have been spiked with psychedelic or other psychoactive substances. And were not talking just alcohol, either. Both came from grains first gathered and then cultivated around thousand years ago by humans at the dawn of civilization agriculture and cities.
But regardless of which came first, beer or fermented grains of some sort has been around a long time. What went on during this ancient Greek rite remains one of the best-kept secrets of antiquity. Suffice it to say that until the rites were shut down in A. Among those who experienced the rite of the mysteries were Plato, Cicero, and Marcus Aurelius, to name but three, who, between them, opined about a great many topics, but they never shared what they experienced there. And in a theme that will continue throughout the book and its investigation into other rites that may have included the use of psychoactive substances, the rites were controlled by and conducted by women.
Could the wine that Jesus shared at the Last Supper have been spiked? And did subsequent celebrations of that Last Supper, which became Communion in the later tradition, also feature spiked wine? In investigating these possibilities, Muraresku travels to archeological sites in southern Italy, which included long-established colonies of Greeks and Phoenicians.
He looks at a well-preserved farm near Mt. Vesuvius that that included residues of the beverages that were preserved courtesy of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that buried and preserved Pompeii in 79 C. And in Da Vinci Code style, Muraresku, with his confederate, a Franciscan priest, gained access to the Vatican archives and the catacombs in a sort of behind-enemy-lines motif.
As Muraresku notes, there are two things that the Catholic hierarchy has never been fond of: drugs and women in positions of power. Nevertheless, he gained access to some fascinating documents and viewed some fascinating frescoes in the catacombs under St. Bruno was a proto-scientist, magician, and precursor of Galileo. For Dinah, a self-described atheist, her experience with the hallucinogen was life-altering.
She has beaten the odds for survival after her cancer diagnosis, but she still lives, in a sense, under a death sentence as do we all. But she reports that her outlook on life and death has changed because of her experience with the drug. And her experience is not unique. Continuing research at NYU, Johns Hopkins, and other institutions, as well as research mostly surreptitious outside the sanction of the academy, have produced similar results.
Based on these researches and influential individual experimenters that were prominent before the War on Drugs was declared, such as Aldous Huxley, Alan Watts, and Gordon Wasson the ethnobotanist who reported on his use of psilocybin in a Life magazine article , Muraresku suggests that the use of psychedelics could prove a boon to those with psychological injuries and to further spiritual explorations.
Testimonials from users are useful and important, no question. But current subjects of medically guided experiments are tightly monitored, and I assume steps are taken to avoid a bad trip. Perhaps it's a trick of an aging memory or the result of anti-drug propaganda, but I recall that some folks suffered bad trips, some even fatal.
How can we— or can we at all— avoid bad trips by users who escape any guidance? He writes: There are real-world benefits to all this supernatural mumbo jumbo. If we took the God Pill, would we really all become better people? Would we love more and hate less? Would it make any difference? Only to the extent that the initial experience was sacred.
And stayed sacred. Stayed meaningful. The Mysteries had a way of ritually ensuring the odds of that transformation from the mortal to the immortal: various stages of initiation, intense psychological preparation, a community of mentors, integration back into everyday life. Muraresku, Brian C. The Immortality Key p. Martin's Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. How many persons are willing to undertake any spiritual or practical discipline?
Few indeed. No one will want to leave such as a decision to any government bureaucracy, ecclesiastical hierarchy, or any other authority not recognized in advance by the individual as rightfully holding such awesome power. A tough sell. The same could be asked of any other technique that induces visions or hallucinations, if you prefer— the choice of terms anticipates the answer.
How do we, if at all, separate the wheat from the chaff? And how would we know? Older readers: remember those television ads for aspirin back in the day? One final point of criticism venial sins of omission and not commission , Muraresku suggests that the use of spiked wine in the paleo-Christian community aided its spread, which was, in fact, no small miracle.
But there are many theories, many plausible explanations, about how and why Christianity spread so effectively even before it gained the imprimatur of the state and the power of the sword. And to be fair, Muraresku would not claim these theories as his own, he serves more as the investigator and advocate than the originator of these claims. He has the trappings of a fine advocate in the courtroom if he wants a career change.
Has he proven his case? Certainly not beyond a reasonable doubt, and not by clear and convincing evidence. Plus, his toughest case will involve the Catholic Church. Good luck getting the Vatican into the courtroom of public opinion. They possess much of the evidence! I encourage him to pursue it. May 10, Cody rated it really liked it. I dont know enough to be critical of this book, but it feels like its reaching, but I could be wrong.
In the Gospel of John, it talks about wine a lot more than in the other Gospels. The author thinks there is something to this that Greek speakers at the time would have understood that we don't. He thinks there is a clear connection between the portrayal of Jesus and the cult of Dionysus, and he shows many parallels between the gospel of John and older Greek writings.
But it wasn't just regular I dont know enough to be critical of this book, but it feels like its reaching, but I could be wrong. But it wasn't just regular wine, he argues. He compares contemporary research on psychedelics with descriptions of ancient religous rituals among the Greeks, Egyptians and peoples of the near East and argues that beer and wine of the time were often laced with psychedelics that created mystical experiences.
This lineage was passed down through the Greeks to certain early Christian groups, but eventually stamped out of the church and those who supported it were seen as heretics or witches. This book is very well researched and makes some really revolutionary claims.
I will be interested to see the extent to which future research puts his work to the test. Mar 13, Jerry rated it liked it. Jerry B. Despite its popular appeal as a New York Times Bestseller, TIK fails to make a compelling case for its grand theory of the "pagan continuity hypothesis with a psychedelic twist" due to recurring overreach and historical distortion, failure Prof. Despite its popular appeal as a New York Times Bestseller, TIK fails to make a compelling case for its grand theory of the "pagan continuity hypothesis with a psychedelic twist" due to recurring overreach and historical distortion, failure to consider relevant research on shamanism and Christianity, and presentation of speculation as fact.
Jan 25, Pedro rated it really liked it. Not everything of value can be weighted and measured. People of faith may have to admit that we can no longer afford legend over history, or obedience over curiosity. Feb 22, Raoul G rated it really liked it Shelves: audio , religions. It was mind-boggling, and reading this book about a year or so later was even more fascinating.
What exactly does this mean? Well it means that psychedelic substances, with their abilities to produce altered states of mind, and in many cases an experience of ego-death, were used in different rituals to produce supernatural experiences. This kind of makes sense if you think about it: In almost all religions, organized or more primitive, there are rites and practices that are, in varying degrees, able to produce altered states of mind in the devotees.
Some examples for this are fasting, sensory deprivation, glossolalia, ritual dances, ritual chants and so on. Add to this list the ingestion of mind-altering substances and you will see the connection. Some of the oldest traces of substances being used with this goal in mind are found by the author in the so-called Mysteries of Eleusis. In the main rite of this cult, its participants drank a potion, descended to the underworld and were then reborn as children of Demeter.
The last two parts, as you may have guessed, happened only in the mind of the participants under the influence of the potion which most likely contained ergot, a fungus that grows on wheat and barley and which contains a chemical that is close to LSD. In the second part of the book the author defends the Pagan continuity hypothesis.
What this thesis says is that the earliest Christians took many different ideas and rites from the pagan cultures. One of these rites which were adopted, according to the author, is the ingestion of psychedelic substances in order to experience a spiritual rebirth. Supposedly this happened in the form of the Eucharist. While this thesis may sound very outlandish and even blasphemous to devout Christians, it is not unwarranted, as the author shows in this book.
After all this would plausibly explain the success of the Christian faith in the first centuries, in a culture that was thoroughly pagan. There is currently somewhat of a psychedelic revival, and the effects of psychedelics are studied more and more in a serious and scientific way at some of the most influential medical research labs in the world.
Everything points to the fact that they are able to produce genuine religious experiences and an astonishing number of the participants of these studies describe such experiences as one of the most meaningful of their life. A change in perspective and an increase in empathy is something that many participants mention as a direct consequence of the psychedelic trip. Muraresku himself has remained what is sometimes called a psychedelic virgin , in order to be able to study the subject as objectively as possible.
His findings are fascinating to say the least, and the way he presents them in this book, by interweaving his own story of studying the subject, meeting with experts, finding new evidence and his elucidating of the ancient world and the myths of those times is superb. Apr 24, Inderjit Sanghera rated it really liked it. Muraresku posits a convincing argument about the use of psychedelics in early Christianity as the eucharist.
According to Muraresku, one of the innovations of early Christianity wa Muraresku posits a convincing argument about the use of psychedelics in early Christianity as the eucharist. According to Muraresku, one of the innovations of early Christianity was to democratise the use of psychedelics and open it up to all to all to use as a pathway to holy communion.
Yet this egalitarian spirit was seen as being dangerous by the early church fathers, who sought to control and limit its use in order to maintain their power, as was the prevalence of women in its rituals, as this challenged the pre-existing power structures which existed in Roman society which Christianity acted as a continuation of. If any criticism could be levelled at the book, it would be that at times it feels like a huge information dump by Muraresku, one where he seeks to show off his considerable knowledge, which comes at the expense of a cohesive and coherent narrative.
Muraresku has, however, enabled the world to regain access to information which has been deliberately hidden but which has been there for people to see if they looked closely enough. Apr 29, Nicole rated it liked it Shelves: religion-new-age , nonfiction.
This book was dense with info. It mostly felt like a research paper, with lots of facts thrown in, theories thrown around. And the book also repeated itself a lot. I felt it could have been half as long. But I did learn a lot, and it definitely piqued my interest in further studying the origins of the original Eucharist. I want the readers digest version of this book with Cliffs Notes. Apr 25, Drew Reilly rated it really liked it.
This was an interesting read. I love reading about the pagan origins of Christianity, and raise dives deep into the pagan origins of the Eucharist. Definitely recommend. Feb 21, Charlotte rated it really liked it Shelves: The historical, archaeological, and linguistic evidence for psychedelics being present in Greek rituals is compelling, and the author expands on that to include the continuation of these pagan psychedelic ceremonies in early Christian times.
I liked the story. NSA has a program that can track personal conversations around the world. One employee gets angry so he becomes a whistleblower. This lust for her body and for power as usual basically becomes the driving force for all these men to outwit or kill each other or even themselves.
The plot is a little overpopulated by characters and the twists are a bit too many to become coincidental. Just like any other first time novelists, Brown was trying to prove that he could intricately weave a suspenseful yet unbelievable plot. Wikipedia says that this book was based on real-life incident in cryptography. The story seems to tell me that Dan Brown not only did his thorough research on the topic but was also able to anticipate what NSA would do.
This one was not coincidence, I think. I just did not have any idea how a novelist could have access to NSA. Or maybe I am reading too many suspense-thriller books Robert Ludlum, Jeffrey Archer, Ken Follett, John Grisham, etc that my rational thinking is now tainted with all these far-fetched possibilities or thoughts.
Dan Brown was born on the same year I was, i. Wimps cannot do just those. I like Dan Brown definitely not for his literary prowess, i. He just does not sit down and types away his thoughts. He backs those up with facts. He goes to the museums in Paris or Capital Building, looks up on all the writings or symbols on the wall, paintings, towers.
He reads history and current events and incorporates those to his plot. We just cannot ignore the fact that he knows his trade. His books deserve to be read. His efforts deserve to be appreciated. AJ LeBlanc. My book group chose this book and I will never forgive them. Digital Fortress is about the government and secrecy. Susan Fletcher works for a super top secret government agency called NSA that cracks codes to read emails and save the world.
How do I remember that her name is Susan Fletcher? Susan Fletcher is the best code breaker NSA has. Susan Fletcher is also beautiful and perfect and everyone loves her and wants to do her. Susan Fletcher has a brilliant mind. Susan Fletcher is also very attractive. Susan Fletcher is also smart.
Dan Brown wrote the book Digital Fortress. If you do not drink and are into health, do push ups or squats or something instead of pounding booze. Susan Fletcher was supposed to be on a vacation with her finance David Becker. David Becker is beautiful and smart. David Becker plays squash and no one minds when David Becker puts his entire head into the water fountain to wash away the sweat.
David Becker is that amazing. Susan Fletcher thinks thoughts to tell the reader how important NSA is. Seriously, how is this guy a big name writer? Dan Brown wants to get to the important things like telling the reader how intelligent and beautiful Susan Fletcher and David Becker are. Susan Fletcher and David Becker are engaged. Susan Fletcher and David Becker have been engaged for six months.
Susan Fetcher stays underground in the NSA bunker trying to figure out what is wrong with their giant, enormous, massive, expensive, costly, top secret, classified translator project. The computer is used to cull through email and crack codes and save the entire planet. It has done so successfully. But now it has found a code that it cannot crack and Susan Fletcher has to use her beautiful body and intelligent mind to solve the problem.
Meanwhile, in Spain, David Becker is on a crazy journey of his own. He has to find a ring because it somehow has something to do with this code. He is able to follow thin clues to track the ring from person to person. Oh, and also David Becker is given stupid coincidences that tell him where to go next. David Becker is smart and is able to use these giant arrows to find the next person to talk to.
Luckily Dan Brown quickly tells information to make me pay attention to a specific character in his book Digital Fortress and I, the reader, can get back to the important part which is remembering that Susan Fletcher and David Becker are engaged and they are both very intelligent and very beautiful. The crazy ending was kind of fun because everyone was in the same place sort of screaming and trying to solve the problem before the entire government was shut down, but other than that… What the fuck, America?
This is one of our top selling authors? Not only do I not care for this type of story, I could not get past the writing. How does this happen? Apparently they all hated the book too, including the two people who suggested it for this month.
Way to make the rest of us pay for your mistakes. Ahmad Sharabiani. Martin's Press. The book explores the theme of government surveillance of electronically stored information on the private lives of citizens, and the possible civil liberties and ethical implications of using such technology. When the National Security Agency's invincible code-breaking machine encounters a mysterious code it cannot break, the agency calls its head cryptographer, Susan Fletcher, a brilliant and beautiful mathematician.
What she uncovers sends shock waves through the corridors of power. The NSA is being held hostage Caught in an accelerating tempest of secrecy and lies, Susan Fletcher battles to save the agency she believes in. Betrayed on all sides, she finds herself fighting not only for her country but for her life, and in the end, for the life of the man she loves. Ninoska Goris. Tampoco esta Robert Landon. Nor is Robert Landon.
The NSA has intercepted a code but can not decipher it. The only clue is hidden in the body of Ensei Takado, who died in Spain. Dan Brown is not just Da Vinci Code! This is a pretty good cyber-thriller. It resonates well in a world where data security and hacking are a part of the daily news.
Check it out if you are a fan of fast paced thrillers with lots of suspense. It has short chapters, too, which I like a lot. Log in Sign up. New Books Hot books. Harpy Rising by Lacey Carter Andersen. The Return by Parker Williams. The Nerd and the Bully by Tiffany Ransier. Stalking Sophie by Emma Bray. The Forgotten Dead by Jordan L.
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—Frank Brown, Managing Director and Chief Operating Office, General Atlantic —Dan Pontefract, author of The Purpose Effect; Chief Envisioner, TELUS. Arrhythmia & Electrophysiology Review (AER) is a tri-annual journal aimed at assisting time-pressured general and specialist cardiologists to stay abreast. M, Painters--Italy--Juvenile fiction. eng, EPUB, False Toombs, Dan-Kirkham, Kris, Hardie Grant, Quadrille Publishing Ltd, , COOKING / General.