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Pretending a problem isn’t real does not mean it isn’t in Dan Brown’s “Inferno”

In his international blockbusters The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, and The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown masterfully fused history, art, codes, and symbols. And he raised the bar yet again in his fourth novel in the Robert Langdon series, Inferno.

Combining classical Italian art, history, and literature with cutting-edge science, this sumptuously entertaining thriller will have you immersed in the pages, following Langdon and his companions through every step of their adventure from Florence to Venice to Istanbul.

Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon awakens in an Italian hospital, disoriented and with no recollection of the past thirty-six hours, including the origin of the macabre object hidden in his belongings. With a relentless female assassin trailing them through Florence, he and his resourceful doctor, Sienna Brooks, are forced to flee.

Embarking on a harrowing journey, they must unravel a series of codes, which are the work of a brilliant scientist whose obsession with the end of the world is matched only by his passion for one of the most influential masterpieces ever written, Dante Alighieri‘s dark epic poem The Inferno

Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science as he raced to find answers and decide whom to trust… before the world is irrevocably altered. 

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Brown has delivered, yet again, another masterpiece. I am a massive fan of Dante and his The Divine Comedy, so I couldn’t wait to read this novel, which is one of my favourites.

Not only that, but Brown looks a very realistic problem and threat to our world… Overpopulation.

The main goal of Langdon is to save humanity from doom. From reading the book, we know that Bertrand Zobrist wants to spread the virus to reduce the population, because its number is above the norm.

The opposition which Robert shows throughout the entire novel proves his kindness and solicitude. To wipe out a part of the population or even cause the infertility among people with the help of the virus is very cruel. Everybody has a right to live and give life to somebody, life is short and one must continue the pedigree. Unfortunately, Zobrist does not understand it, he does not even realize the fact that humanity can disappear forever. Professor Robert Langdon continues to protect the human life.

Yes, it is easy to see Zobrist as the bad guy – and he undeniably is, what he does is despicable and cold-hearted. But he makes it easy to see why he thinks what he is doing is for the good of mankind – to save mankind.

What Langon realises is that no matter how cruel and heartless Zobrist was in his ‘solution’ to the problem, the problem still exists. This leads to the deeper message I felt Brown was getting at – when we, as human beings, bury our head in the sand and pretend a problem is not there, doesn’t actually mean it isn’t.

At the end of Inferno, we learn through Langdon the problem that we, as a species, all do – we deny.

“The human mind has a primitive ego defense mechanism that negates all realities that produce too much stress for the brain to handle. It’s called Denial.”
— Dan Brown, Inferno

We learn that even though we need denial so some extent, it also causes harm.

“Denial is a critical part of the human coping mechanism. Without it, we would all wake up terrified every morning about all the ways we could die. Instead, our minds block out our existential fears by focusing on stresses we can handle—like getting to work on time or paying our taxes.”
— Dan Brown, Inferno

Denying something is a problem is akin to believing the problem does not exist. In order to properly solve problems and situations we cannot ignore its existence. Langdon realises that if those Zobrist reached out to acknowledging what was going on with overpopulation, Zobrist would have had a team with him to find a possible and more compassionate solution, rather than do what he did.

At the end of the book, denying things is a mistake Langdon promises not to make again.

As repeated many times throughout the book,

“The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their silence at times of crisis.”
— Dan Brown, Inferno

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