Children of Dune by Frank Herbert

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There exist obvious higher-order influences in any planetary system. This is often demonstrated by introducing terraform life onto newly discovered planets. In all such cases, the life in similar zones develops striking similarities of adaptive form. This form signifies much more than shape; it connotes a survival organization and a relationship of such organizations. The human quest for this interdependent order and our niche within it represents a profound necessity. The quest can, however, be perverted into a conservative grip on sameness. This has always proved deadly for the entire system. -The Dune Catastrophe, After Harq al-Ada

“My son didn’t really see the future; he saw the process of creation and its relationship to the myths in which men sleep,” Jessica said. She spoke swiftly but without appearing to rush the matter. She knew the hidden observers would find a way to interrupt as soon as they recognized what she was doing. Farad’n sat on the floor outlined in a shaft of afternoon sunlight which slanted through the window behind him. Jessica could just see the top of a tree in the courtyard garden when she glanced across from her position standing against the far wall. It was a new Farad’n she saw: more slender, more sinewy. The months of training had worked their inevitable magic on him. His eyes glittered when he stared at her. “He saw the shapes which existing forces would create unless they were diverted,” Jessica said. “Rather than turn against his fellow men, he turned against himself. He refused to accept only that which comforted him because that was moral cowardice.” Farad’n had learned to listen silently testing, probing, holding his questions until he had shaped them into a cutting edge. She had been talking about the Bene Gesserit view of molecular memory expressed as ritual and had, quite naturally, diverged to the Sisterhood’s way of analyzing Paul Muad’Dib. Farad’n saw a shadow play in her words and actions, however, a projection of unconscious forms at variance with the surface intent of her statements. “Of all our observations, this is the most crucial,” she’d said. “Life is a mask through which the universe expresses itself. We assume that all of humankind and its supportive life forms represent a natural community and that the fate of all life is at stake in the fate of the individual. Thus, when it comes to that ultimate self-examination, the amor fati, we stop playing god and revert to teaching. In the crunch, we select individuals and we set them as free as we’re able.” He saw now where she had to be going and knowing its effect upon those who watched through the spy eyes, refrained from casting an apprehensive glance at the door. Only a trained eye could have detected his momentary imbalance, but Jessica saw it and smiled. A smile, after all, could mean anything. “This is a sort of graduation ceremony,” she said. “I’m very pleased with you, Farad’n. Will you stand, please.” He obeyed, blocking off her view of the treetop through the window behind him. Jessica held her arms stiffly at her side, said: “I am charged to say this to you. ‘I stand in the sacred human presence. As I do now, so should you stand someday. I pray to your presence that this be so. The future remains uncertain and so it should, for it is the canvas upon which we paint our desires. Thus always the human condition faces a beautifully empty canvas. We possess only this moment in which to dedicate ourselves continuously to the sacred presence which we share and create.’ ” As Jessica finished speaking, Tyekanik came through the door on her left, moving with a false casualness which the scowl on his face belied. “My Lord,” he said. But it already was too late. Jessica’s words and all of the preparation which had gone before had done their work. Farad’n no longer was Corrino. He was now Bene Gesserit.

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What you of the CHOAM directorate seem unable to understand is that you seldom find real loyalties in commerce. When did you last hear of a clerk giving his life for the company? Perhaps your deficiency rests in the false assumption that you can order men to think and cooperate. This has been a failure of everything from religions to general staffs throughout history. General staffs have a long record of destroying their own nations. As to religions, I recommend a rereading of Thomas Aquinas. As to you of CHOAM, what nonsense you believe! Men must want to do things out of their own innermost drives. People, not commercial organizations or chains of command, are what make great civilizations work. Every civilization depends upon the quality of the individuals it produces. If you over-organize humans, over-legalize them, suppress their urge to greatness — they cannot work and their civilization collapses. -A letter to CHOAM, Attributed to The Preacher

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Categories: Herbert, Frank