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Metaphysics and nature: From Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code


The association of metaphysics with nature is a common one. In this excerpt, Dan Brown describes a pagan sexual practice, which is called Hieros Gamos. I have numbered the sentences of the excerpt to make it easier to follow the explanation:


[1] Hieros Gamos [ritual sex] was a spiritual act. [2] Historically, intercourse was the act through which male and female experienced God. [3] The ancients believed that the male was spiritually incomplete until he had carnal knowledge of the sacred feminine. [4] Physical union with the female remained the sole means through which man could become spiritually complete [...] [5] By communing with woman […] man could achieve a climactic instant when his mind went totally blank and he could see God. […] [6] Physiologically speaking, the male climax was accompanied by a split second entirely devoid of thought. [7] A brief mental vacuum. [8] A moment of clarity during which God could be glimpsed" (ch. 74).


This excerpt describes sexuality, i.e. nature, but it does so by assigning to it metaphysical attributes. Thus, the sexual practice is "a spiritual act" (1) through which you can "experience[...] God" (2), and physical union and the lack of it have to do with "spiritual" completeness and incompleteness (3 & 4); the sexual climax is also a spiritual one, for it makes the vision of God possible (5 & 8), and is curiously accompanied by lack of thought (6 & 7), which makes sense if we take into account that one of the most typical attributes of nature is that it is opposed to the higher-order functions in human beings, such as thought.

daniel.candel@uah.es | ©2008 Daniel Candel Bormann