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Inferno - A Book Review

August 10, 2015

Inferno, by Dan Brown, author of several other books of the same ilk, is a story that weaves fascinating details of art history... as well as little known details of world history... into a suspense drama full of psychological discussions on current themes of intellectual issues. The tapestry includes the insertion of varying shades of alternate thinking... and this one on the topic of over-population... and an impending crisis it could create.

I have been pondering such a subject for a while, now... and reading this book gave me the opportunity to gather my thoughts on the subject. You see... I have found errors in a Darwinian version of evolution... a theory that is based on the conclusion that "survival of the fittest" is the over-lying and under-lying rule of nature. According to this rule... the strongest survive... and the "unsuitable" fail to survive.

This theory has many arms and legs to it that also contain errors... but... nevertheless those arms and legs are appealing to the theoretical concensus of the theory itself. For instance... some may suggest that beautiful and handsome human beings would be the most likely survivors in this contest of suitability. However... the many pitfalls of beauty suggest otherwise... and we must conclude that beauty is not a passport to happiness nor to survival. Beauty makes us targets.

In the great scheme of things... ugliness can also make us targets... but being less beautiful may also inspire one to achieve in other ways... in more realistic and practical ways. My point being... survival is a nebulous concept... and to transpose the breeding habits of one species onto another species may well be a foolish mistake.

Each species chooses mates... in its own fashion. We cannot read the minds of birds and buffaloes to know for sure what it is that attracts that singular animal to want to mate. It may well be based on nothing more than size... but... who knows what a side glance to a receptive male... may provoke...?? having nothing to do with beauty or size at all. Who knows... if the tone of belching by a female cow... has been considered appealing to a fat bull...?

How can we state anything with surety... about the process of mating and reproduction...?

And so... in Inferno, the book... named after a vectro virus that is feared to cause another "Black Plague" that will cull humanity but inspire another Renaissance to follow it... we see that... the genius biologist invented a virus that causes sterility in only a third of the population... with the theory that over time... the world's populations will normalize to a survivable level.

That... was the genius solution to over-population.
That... is not evolution.
Creating a more beautiful and intelligent human being... is not evolution.
We are already so intelligent that we have invented our own demise.
Our problem... is understanding our own species. And to date... in a world of millions of doctors and psychologists and philosophers... with many years of high education... we... still... do... not... get... it.

It is said that fear and panic are not the proper environments for rational action... and so... it is true... that policy-makers... and world power groups... have just not been thinking rationally. In "Inferno" the concept is addressed that the "Black Plague" was nature's way of culling the herd... and so... we take the Darwinian theory and justify plague with it. The Plague was likely caused by a filth that grew a bacterium or fungus... that proliferated in other filthy conditions. I don't call that... survival of the fittest stuff. I call that filth... that must be addressed... in order to maintain a healthy population.

The "end game" of the Darwinian school of thought is that... the fittest... (which of course would be the richest... who have had the best environment, best food, and best healthcare)... will be considered the natural inheritors of the earth... and the rest of us will just lay down in defeat... knowing our ultimate end as... unfit to take up space on the planet. We will surrender our human rights... like a wounded elk is culled and left to the hyenas. We will surrender to our natural fate.

What Dan Brown does not address... is the many natural ways that reproduction is controlled... and that... it is the abandoning of our natural ways that has caused the problem... and not the need for further evolution... or a correction in our evolution.

If a baby is breast-fed until the age of two... when digestion has progressed... when teeth have grown strong enough to chew solid foods... it has another benefit, as well. Breast-feeding will halt or curb the mother's reproductive cycle. If this practice were applied, children would be born no less than three years apart. If return to her cycle is slower... more years between children.

Bottle-feeding is unnatural... and devised because our greater lives are lived unnaturally. The further away from a connection to nature that we become... the more controlled we will need to be... to replace what once was normal and natural. We haven't thought through the ramifications of the idea that civilization... can have drawbacks. When we try to live sterile lives in "ivory towers" we end up thinking that the only way of fixing things... is to pile more unnatural things upon the other unnatural things.

Plague... and genetic engineering... is not the answer to over-population.
Coming to our senses... is the answer to over-population.
We do not need to deal with our own version of Frankenstein... whose weaknesses may still exist despite of its "perfection of the species".

"Inferno" is heavily based on a study of Dante's "Divine Comedy" ... and the comparison of the two "geniuses" Dante and the biologist is easy to see. Dante was like the anti-hero in "Inferno." He saw the horrors that mankind were capable of... and created his Medusa... his religious virus... to innoculate the world against its own weaknesses. Dante... created hell.

Now that we have matured... perhaps we should UNCREATE it.
We must find our own true compass... and our own true sanity.
My worry is that... as smart as we humans are... we still do not understand a thing.

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