Some people in the wider world and also dangerously close to home (How could you, Mom?) have taken the book The Da Vinci Code, and its upcoming film adaptation, as fact. As explanation for this abomination, blame has in turn been placed on the fragmentation of American media, the confusion caused by reality television, the failure of primary school education, cow hormones in milk making people dumber, and the decline of the Catholic Church. I on the other hand believe that this immense display of stupidity reflects a larger global phenomenon.
When the Matrix came out, there were some people (even over the age of 14!) who were like, "Whoa, what if we totally live in an alternate universe that's, like, created by someone else, and even though we think that weíre in a real world, the real world really exists like somewhere else, and what we think is real we only THINK is real!" The answer to this thought is obviously either, "Yes, but who cares" or "No, you freakin moron." A level of introspection one step deeper would indicate that the philosophical query posed by the situation is a worthless sinkhole redundant unto itself; it is not only impossible to prove either way, but once proved is completely moot in its application to anything. (Has anyone heard of Occam's razor? Or am i overreaching?) We canít blame Hollywood for Americaís credulity, however. Centuries ago priests argued over how many angels could fit on the head of a pin. Or at least iíve heard people tell it that way.
This is the same phenomenon which is occurring so appallingly over the Da Vinci Code: "If i haven't thought of it before, it must be true!" Similarly, children sometimes say: "What if what i see as red you see as blue, and even though i call something red and you call it red too we're really seeing different things!!?" Again: Either "Yes, who cares" or "No, itís moronic," but the reasoning is excusable as long as you're under 12, or under the influence.
It hurts me to see people talk about the Da Vinci Code and say, "Wow, i never thought of that!" losing all critical faculties they seem to poses in other areas of life. Perhaps itís because the book centers on matters of religion, and people are a little shaky on their Catechism these days. On the other hand, there's no excuse for mistaking formulaic fiction for historical fact, and i wonder if the people who think Jesus was busy knocking up Mary Magdalene also fantasize about Pocahontas and John Smith doin it in the treetops of the great American wilderness. ("How hiiiiiiiigh can a Sycamore grow") But i donít want to tread on sacred territory.
Maybe believing whatever next thing you hear is exciting. Hey, that's why lots of people do yoga! And maybe history and religion is too simple and boring to merit a poorly-written thriller and poorly-acted movie. Still, i believe most people have the capacity in their minds to exercise a little critical discernment between fact and fiction. But maybe thatís my leap of faith.