It is with more than a little trepidation that I approach my upcoming seminar Illuminating the Da Vinci Code. My motives for doing so are suspected by many. Although, I truly hope it is far too late for anyone to try to jump on the coat-tails of the usual reactions and responses, and we can only pray that they will fade away sooner rather than later, the ability to imagine another approach seems largely absent.
There does seem to be some grand failure in imagination, a cultural short-circuit. Rather than using it as a tool to give form or to explore possibilities—most seem held captive by their imagination. They imagine only one thing, one perspective, one possibility: and then mistake that for reality. This is the world on spin-cycle, with imagination used as a filter for the world putting a spin on everything, so that imagination is used to reduce the possibilities we see—to tell only one story repeatedly.
Perhaps that is the mechanism of the modern dualism we see everywhere in our culture. The world and the people in it are complex, yet that is oddly missing from our public considerations. The ability to imagine the other as self fades, while the captivity to the imagination in a dualism of self vs other grows.
Yet, we are fish in the sea of our culture. We cannot see the currents directly, and often we forget there is water at all. But, at times, something large moves along the current, revealing not only the current, but reminding us again that we are in a particular sea.
The Da Vinci Code is something we are all probably tired of hearing about—but in a particular way. In the way that has become the standard way of approaching everything. In the way that ends conversation, turning it into a false debate where only one side is heard. We should all be tired of that. We shouldn't stand for it anymore.
I will be standing up against easy answers and modern dualism. And yes, I will be doing it in considering the Da Vinci Code phenomenon. Because in illuminating it we illuminate ourselves—we see something of the deeper currents and the nature of our particular sea. I hope you will be able to join me, either in person or in spirit.