Author: Dan Brown


This is novel by Dan Brown, author of “Angels and Demons” and The DaVinci Code. All his novels, there are several more, are fast paced and take place within a short period of time, usually a couple of days. All his novels are packed with historical or present facts. I am reporting this particular one as it has some hard hitting points to ponder concerning population. [Read book review in “Books Worth Reading on Three Essays on Population]. To make the following quotes more understandable the main characters are  Robert Langdon, an American professor; Sienna Brooks, a doctor; Bertrand Zobrist, the genius biologist that that developed and set the plague trap; and the provost, a director in the Consortium. A side note is the movie was terribly disappointing. It started out well but as the ending drew near it got so far off script from the book it was actually depressing to watch. This is an easy read but a long one. It held my interest so well I read all 611 pages in two days. Keep in mind that he says in the front of the book “‘The Consortium’ is an a private organization with offices in seven countries. Its name has been changed for considerations of security and privacy.’ ” This organization actually exists. If that doesn’t shake you with all the possibilities of past, present and future nothing will.

Chapter 3

“The decisions of our past are the architects of our present.”

“The provost, however, did not believe in luck. Everything he did was orchestrated to eradicate randomness and remove chance. Control was the provost’s expertise – foreseeing every possibility, anticipating every response, and molding reality toward the desired outcome. He had an immaculate track record of success and secrecy, and with it came a staggering clientele – billionaires, politicians, sheikhs, and even entire governments.”

Chapter 7

“He looked at another clipping from a medical journal: THE FUTURE OF THOUGHT: NOT ALL MINDS ARE CREATED EQUAL.” [Langdon viewing article on Brooks]

Chapter 22

[Zobrist talking to a leader of the World Health Organization]

“ ‘Neither.’ His voice turned in eerily cajoling. ‘I brought you here to work with you. I have no doubt you understand that overpopulation is a health issue. But what I fear you don’t understand is that it will affect the very soul of man. Under the stress of overpopulation, those who have never considered stealing will become thieves to feed their families. Those who have never considered killing of children provide for their young. All of Dante’s deadly sins – greed, gluttony, treachery, murder, and the rest – will begin percolating . . . rising up to the surface of humanity, amplified by our evaporating comforts. We are facing a battle for the very soul of man.’ “

Chapter 50

[Conversation between Brooks and Langdon]

“ ‘His essay essentially declared that the human race was on the brink of extinction, and that unless we had a catastrophic event that precipitously decreased global population growth, our species would not survive another hundred years.’ “

“ ‘It was a pretty stark thesis. The predicted timeframe is substantially shorter than previous estimates, but it was supported by some very potent scientific data. He made a lot of enemies by declaring that all doctors should stop practicing medicine because extending the human lifespan is only exacerbating the population problem.’ “

“ ‘………. The biggest backlash against Zobrist, however, came when he declared that his advances in genetic engineering would be far more helpful to mankind if they were used not to cure disease, but rather to create it.’ “

“Sienna gave him a solemn shrug. ‘Robert, speaking from a purely scientific standpoint – all logic, no heart – I can tell you without a doubt that without some kind of drastic change, the end of our species is coming. And it’s coming fast. It will be fire, brimstone, apocalypse, or nuclear war . . ,. it will be total collapse due to the number of people on the planet. The mathematics is indisputable.’ “

“ ‘I studied a fair amount of biology,’ she said, ‘and it’s quite normal for a species to go extinct simply as a result of over populating its environment. Picture a colony of surface algae living in a tiny pond in the forest, enjoying the pond’s perfect balance of nutrients. Unchecked, they reproduce so wildly that they quickly cover the pond’s entire surface, blotting out the sun and thereby preventing the growth of the nutrients in the pond. Having set everything possible from their environment, the algae quickly die and disappear without a trace.’ She gave a heavy sigh. ‘A similar fate can easily await mankind. Far sooner and faster than any of us imagine.’ “

“ ‘Not impossible, Robert, just unthinkable. 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.’ “

“Sienna glanced over at him, her face softening. ‘Robert, look, I’m not saying Zobrist is correct that a plague that kills half the world’s people is the answer to overpopulation. Nor am I saying we should stop curing the sick. What I am saying is that our current path is a pretty simple formula for destruction population growth is an exponential progression occurring within the system of finite space and limited resources. The end will arrive very abruptly. Our experience will not be that of slowly running out of gas . . . it will be more like driving off a cliff.’ “

“ ‘………… One of the passages in Bertrand Zobrist’s essay that got a lot of people talking was a very pointed hypothetical question. I want you to answer.’ “

“ ‘Zobrist asked the following: if you could throw a switch and randomly kill half the population on earth, would you do it?’ “

“ ‘Okay. But what if you were told that if you didn’t throw that switch right now, the human race to be extinct in the next 100 years?’ She paused. ‘Would you throw it then? Even if it meant you might murder friends, family, and possibly even yourself?’ “

“ ‘It’s a hypothetical question,’ she said. ‘Would you kill half the population today in order to save our species from extinction?’ “

Chapter 63

“With each passing hour, the outcome grows more certain. Mathematics – as relentless as the law of gravity – is nonnegotiable.”

Chapter 68

“………. He had often wondered what this incredible city had been like in its heyday . . . before the plague weakened enough for it to be conquered by the Ottomans, and then by Napoleon . . . back when Venice reigned gloriously as the commercial center of Europe. By all accounts, there was no more beautiful city in the world, the wealth and culture of its population unparalleled.”

“Ironically, it was the population’s taste for foreign luxuries that brought about its demise – the deadly plague traveling from China to Venice on the backs of rat stowed away on trading vessels. The same plague that destroyed an unfathomable two thirds of China’s population arrived in Europe and very quickly killed one in three – young and old, rich and poor alike.”

Chapter 79

“Growing up with an exceptional intellect, Sienna had spent her youth feeling like a stranger in a strange land . . . an alien trapped on a lonely world. She tried to make friends, but her peers immersed themselves in frivolities that held no interest to her. She tried to respect your elders, most adults seems like nothing more than aging children, lacking even the most basic understanding of the world around them, and most troubling, lacking any curiosity or concern about it.”

“Through her acts of public service, Sienna came in contact with several members of a local humanitarian group. When they invited her to join them on a month-long trip to the Philippines, she jumped at the chance.”

“Sienna imagined they were going to feed poor fishermen or farmers in the countryside, which he had read was a wonderland of geological beauty, with vibrant seabeds and dazzling plains. And so when the group settled in among the throngs in the city of Manila – the most densely populated city on earth –Sienna could only gape in horror. She had never seen poverty on the scale.”

“For every one person Sienna fed, there were hundreds more who gazed at her desolate eyes. Manila had six hour traffic jams, suffocating pollution, and a horrifying sex trade, whose workers consisted primarily of young children, many of whom had been sold to pimps by parents who took solace in knowing that at least their children would be fed.”

“Amid the chaos of child prostitution, panhandlers, pickpockets, and worse, Sienna found herself suddenly paralyzed. All around her, she could see humanity overrun by its primal instinct for survival. When they faced desperation . . . human beings become animals.”

“Sienna studied Zobrist’s mathematical equations carefully, educating herself on his predictions of a Malthusian catastrophe in the impending collapse of the species. Her intellect love the high-level speculations, but she felt her stress level climbing as she saw the entire future before her . . . mathematically guaranteed . . . so obvious . . . inevitable.”

Why doesn’t anyone else see this coming?”

Chapter 86

“ ‘I lie for a living.’ “

“ ‘I am a purveyor of disinformation.’ “

“Available online, businesses with names like the Alibi Company and Alibi Network made fortunes all over the world by providing unfaithful spouses with a way to cheat and not get caught. Promising to briefly ‘stop time’ so their clients could slip away from husband, wife, or kids, these organizations were masters at creating illusions – fake business conventions, fake doctor’s appointments, even fake weddings – all of which included phony invitations, brochures, plane tickets, hotel confirmation forms, and even special contact numbers that rang at Alibi Company switchboards, where trained professionals pretended to be whatever receptionist or contact the illusion required.”

“The provost, however, and never wasted his time with such petty artifice. He dealt solely with large-scale deception, plying his trade for those who could afford to pay millions of dollars in order to receive the best service.”


“Major corporations.”

“The occasional wealthy VIP.”

“To achieve their goals, these clients would have at their disposal all of the Consortium’s assets, personnel, experience, and creativity. Above all, though, they were given deniability – the assurance that whatever illusion was fabricated in support of their deception could never be traced to them.”

“Whether trying to prop up a stock market, justify a war, win an election or lure a terrorist out of hiding, the world’s power brokers relied on massive disinformation schemes to help shape public perception.”