Earl Grey

Frank Herbert's Dune series and related philosophical discussion

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Because I can't resist, I thought it would be a good idea to discuss another classic speculative fiction setting and great influencer of Star Wars: the Dune series by Frank Herbert. Though there are polarizing views about the canon made by Brian Herbert, for the sake of discussion, we can include it here. 

 

What intrigued me was the concept of the Zensunni and Mahayana Christianity faiths, and the Orange Catholic Bible, as well as the many striking parallels between Mohammed and Paul Atreides story in the first book. Watching the whole evolution of Paul Muad'Dib and the difficulty of separating the man from the myth is what made me begin questioning heroes and legends, and actually drew me more to Taoism because of the preference for modesty and no need for glory or recognition, especially with Laozi himself. 

 

Short comments or long discussions, or even arguing about what you think of the series after Chapterhouse: Dune are all acceptable. :) 

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I loved the first book but the following ones were kind of a letdown.  The second one was OK but I never finished the third one.

 

The evolution of Maud Dib from man to myth was a good lesson and I think it is rather common actually. One thing about Maud Dib is his coming was foretold by legend.  This can be attributed to so many people taking the spice and therefore having more psychic and prescient abilities, kind of like the legendary people described in the bible did.  I'm afraid I'm not familiar with Zensunni, Mahayana Christianity or the Orange Catholic Bible so I don't know how that applies.

 

One thing that this book and Stranger in a Strange land did for me is steer me clear of Religions and beliefs, something I already had an aversion to but it put solid reasons in my mind.  

 

I really liked the tension Herbert was able to portray in the interactions of the Benne Gesserit and the great plots within plots ideas.  The guy had to be a genius to write such a complex story.

 

Sorry I'm not that analytical, and it was a long time ago that I read that book.  The movie didn't do it justice.

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ComicBookGirl19 has recently started a reading group for the first book:

 

https://www.comicbookgirl19.com/

 

It's interesting that she picks up on or emphasizes things that I didn't notice so much on the occasions I've read it.  I haven't read any of the books past ChapterHouse Dune, so I don't know how good they are.

 

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I found the warning about the dangers of prophesy much more insightful and relevant.

Basically Maud Dib boxed himself in with prophesy, his son had to free him and everyone else.

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What really alarms me was how much trying to fit into the prophecy tore into Muad'Dib's life as he tried to become the myth and legend instead of being himself. I find that happening a lot with the digital frontier now the way individuals on Linkedin or their personal name sites promote themselves so much that it becomes hard to see if they're a real person or trying to sell themselves to you. 

 

This personal branding and ego game to get ahead in the rat race is so un-Taoist to me. It's one of the reasons I find myself distanced from cities like San Francisco or Los Angeles, and why I find that culture creeping into places like Bangkok, Manila, and Jakarta with the influence of consumer technology for everyone to become some sort of online celebrity on Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, or a personal blog that masquerades as a professional source with authority. 

 

The alarming thing is, it's not someone else's prophecy--it's the prophecy we make up for ourselves and a narrative that comes from years of posting our digital footprint in this cyberscape. It's a personality cult at every corner of the Net.

 

I liked Paul Atreides when he went into hiding and when he first took the name Muad'Dib because of its simplicity and humility. The Fremen characterize the desert rodent as such:

 

"Muad'Dib is wise in the ways of the desert. Muad'Dib creates his own water. Muad'Dib hides from the sun and travels in the cool night. Muad'Dib is fruitful and multiplies over the land. Muad'Dib we call 'instructor-of-boys.' That is a powerful base on which to build your life, Paul Muad'Dib, who is Usul among us"

 

Paul certainly didn't act much like the Muad'Dib of the desert after the messiah complex took over. 

Edited by Earl Grey
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The later books lost me but the first is a true classic.

 

I liked the writings on the Bene Gesserit 'witches' and Mentats (apologies for spelling, its an old book).   The spiritual mystics and living computers.  The importance of self control, and study of minutiae; aspects of deep awareness.  Its fiction, yet gives some inspiration for things to study.  More then Star Wars, because heightened awareness and its subsequent abilities seem more achievable then telekinesis.. and other 'force powers'. 

 

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30 minutes ago, thelerner said:

The later books lost me but the first is a true classic.

 

On 8/22/2017 at 2:39 AM, Starjumper said:

I loved the first book but the following ones were kind of a letdown.  The second one was OK but I never finished the third one.

 

I admit the sequels were definitely harder to go through than the original, which can still stand on its own if you decide that there were no other books after the original. Some people like the original trilogy, some think the main six written by Frank were a masterpiece that was missing its epilogue when he died, and many like to pretend that Brian Herbert's many sequels don't exist.

 

Side note on Brian Herbert: he actually revised the original Dune to match his own prequel series and sequels, which are written more like Star Wars action scenes with a fan fiction tone rather than the great philosophical explorations of Frank Herbert. There is text that he added that was never there in the original editions, so I try to avoid versions published after the 1990s to avoid the alterations to that text. 

 

I have my copy of the original Dune and probably will find the old 1980 or 1990 editions of the original sextology in pocket paperback size--my preferred size, just like my Castaneda books. :) Not a fan of oversize paperbacks. 

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I find it quite remarkable how the Dune series attemps to extrapolate the development of current religions/spiritual systems into the far future - partially because sci fi stories don't do this often, partially because it is an accurate observation that new religions are generally created as revisions and blends of existing ones.

 

For people less familiar with the intricacies of the Dune universe (such as myself), this might be helpful:

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Dune_religions

 

What I vividly remember from reading the first book is "Buddhislam", a conception which struck me as paradoxical at the time, because the doctrines of Buddhism and Islam are so very different from each other. This comparison might be of interest to some:

 

http://www.diffen.com/difference/Buddhism_vs_Islam

 

Then again, those of you who are familiar with my posts will know that I believe in an agreement of all religions at their innermost core, the one metaphysical reality. And taking them back to those essentials first, hypothetically, all kinds of belief systems could be reconciled and united with each other.

 

I am not sure to what extent Dune embraces this kind of perspective, but its various blended religions are definitely thought provoking.

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:D I'm rereading the series at the moment.

 

My first read was as a teenager, enjoyed it very much. About ten years ago I saw some books in the secondhand-shop and bought them. The first book was as nice as back when I was young. But partly I had bought sequels that, if I remember well, were created by his son and another author. These I brought back to the thriftstore when I had finished them.

 

Now rereading the complete series.

 

There are many layers in these books, what I'd like to mention is how a culture and its religion is enmeshed with the circumstances, with the ecological balance. The Fremen were a developed people, living in very large sietches, having schools, rules, high technological development. But they were clearly a tribal people.

 

when the myth, a green planet, became true, their close-nit and healthy society went to pieces, their tribality, the strong sense of morality. And at the same time the outer layers of this lost culture were mimicked by many other cultures

 

 

and...Now that I've reread the first book, i find that one of the lines in my signature comes from dune.

 

The mystery of life is not a problem to solve but a reality to experience

 

I did not realize this when I created that signature as a new bum, it must have made a deep impression on the teenager

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I've read the original series several times over the years and have read many (but not all) of the prequels Brian co-authored.  I found the "reboot" to be surprisingly consistent in voice and themes with the original volumes and I loved the richness and complexity they added to the epic.  I would DEFINITELY recommend reading things in the order published, though, rather than in the order they occur -- much like starting the Star Wars movies with Episode IV.

 

Personally, I found the original set expanded magnificently as it transitioned from a local squabble on a desert world to a galactic tyranny for an astounding purpose to the fulfillment of that purpose.  Simply brilliant.

 

I think Leto II is one of the great characters of fiction.

 

I also think it is time for me to start it again!  :)

Edited by Brian
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Some of the stages of development of 'the hero', some metaphors and scenarios  follow the basic outline of a well known group's series of developmental initiations , as enacted in dramatic ritual  .       ;) 

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On 8/21/2017 at 1:39 PM, Starjumper said:

One thing about Maud Dib is his coming was foretold by legend.  This can be attributed to so many people taking the spice and therefore having more psychic and prescient abilities, kind of like the legendary people described in the bible did.

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Dan Winter's work reveals that there are many ET races which used artificial tech to speed up their own evolution, Mono Atomic Gold. This tech works by forcing DNA to organize coherently, the so called Spice Melange from the Dune Series. The cost for this is disassociation from their soul group. Although they can maintain a type of immortality within a material body it causes personality dissociation or splitting. Eventually if they do not restore the organic evolution using love and STO modalities, their genetic pattern breaks down, forcing them to resort to cloning techniques. Additionally they can not imprint their soul memory into the Galactic Core. Many Negative ET races have come to Earth because humanity is about to transition into a modality of evolution which they can 'piggyback on to' allowing their soul memory to reconcile with ours. Many of these races are trying to 'have their cake and eat it too, not really changing to STO and using our DNA to fix the problem. This will not work. But those groups who do change can, and our part as humanity is to offer the STO of forgiveness to them. Hence the many channeled works saying our planet is very important to many races.

 

Edited by gendao

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STO ?

 

4 minutes ago, gendao said:

not really changing to STO and using our DNA to fix the problem. This will not work. But those groups who do change can, and our part as humanity is to offer the STO of forgiveness to them.

 

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STO service to others

STS service to self

A new religion emerged, the aliens channeling.

 

The religions are about authority, who rules over who and who serves who. It is a good justification to Serve To Others.

 

Have you observed that all religions are based on oracles that predict the future?

And if the prediction become true then the religion obtains authority.

Just like judaism that predicted the fall of Egyptian or Babilonian empires.

Or like Christianity that predicted the fall of Judaism.

Or maybe it is just a scheme to produce the outcome, to make happen a prophecy and then justify that the divine power of the Universe is with you, your God is better than the other gods, which implies you are better than the others, so you are justified to rule over the others.

Judaism initially was a tribal religion, that evolved into a kingdom religion, uniting tribes and finding power in the unity of tribes.

Christianity went to the next level, religion of an empire. I am now convinced that Christianity was invented by the Roman emperors, to justify their rule over the most rebellious  kingdom they ever encountered. It was a good scheme, it worked and still works, even today.

When I first read Dune, I started to doubt about Christianity although I didn't abandoned it completely until recently but at least Dune was the trigger that started it. I think that was the intent, to make people doubt and start thinking.

Edited by Andrei
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53 minutes ago, Andrei said:

Judaism initially was a tribal religion, that evolved into a kingdom religion, uniting tribes and finding power in the unity of tribes.

Christianity went to the next level, religion of an empire. I am now convinced that Christianity was invented by the Roman emperors, to justify their rule over the most rebellious  kingdom they ever encountered. It was a good scheme, it worked and still works, even today.

Well, Abraham was "credited" with starting monotheism in the West...

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Abraham was the first person to teach the idea that there was only one God; before then, people believed in many gods.  Ironically, Abraham's father, Terach, had made his living selling idols of various gods.

Of course, this also conveniently served as just another method to eliminate natural diversity and centralize hierarchical pyramidal power.

illuminati+pyramid.jpg

Similar to how they disbanded and destroyed all aboriginal tribes retaining the "Old Knowledge" and natural ways of life - to be replaced by a monolithic, synthetic culture control by the Pindar (“Penis of the Dragon”).

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The Manifest Destiny of the United States was created to expand the territory of the Aryans at the expense of the native populations. As always, the Illuminati seek to destroy native peoples and their cultures.

This is an attempt to destroy their knowledge of God-Mind, as well as the possibility that the natives will impart this information on to others. Especially important is their need to eliminate native cultures with ancient knowledge of Atlantis and Lyrae.

The natives that gave them the most problem were the Cherokee Indians because this tribe retained most of their Atlantean knowledge, even accessing the Bear/Bigfoot frequency for information.

For this reason, these people were uprooted from their homeland in the southern Appalachian Mountains, and forcibly marched to Oklahoma on what is now known as The Trail of Tears.

 

Many died along the way. Only a remnant remained in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia. In the north, the vast Iroquois/Mohawk nation was disbanded. The Montauk, direct descendents of the Atlanteans who call their leader Pharaoh, were systematically eliminated.

 

Edited by gendao
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I read a few of the DUNE books back in... wow. I guess it was about 1984 or so. I was completely obsessed with the series for some time. (I was 19 then.)

 

My favorite memory of them all this time later is Duncan -- my favorite character by far.

 

I have a sort of fascination with clones, chimera, and so on.

 

RC

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What I found particularly intriguing about this science fiction series is that the science and technology presented are actually not so much an extension of present-day state-of-the-art (such as outlined for instance in Star Trek), but more of the magical variety. Something like what indeed may have existed in time immemorial in lost civilizations like Atlantis, except that this is playing about 8.000 years in the future! This is rather reminiscent of Arthur C. Clarke's statement that there would be no way to distinguish a sufficiently advanced civilization's technology from magic. 

Edited by Michael Sternbach
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Incredible insight and vision in the original Frank Herbert series. My favourite is 'God Emperor of Dune'. The scope of time was something that impressed me, as well, through the series, of the deevolution of politics and society, esp due to direct efforts of God Emperor Leto. After enjoying centuries of high times with rapid space travel, he basically abolishes it by controlling the spice, to slow down humanity, to disconnect them and bring chaos! 

 

Its interesting too how the intitial efforts of Keyes and the Fremen to terraform Dune eventully succeed--only to prove terribly destructive to civilization. It leaves our heroes needing to remake a new Dune. The ecological commentary is profound, and topical for today.

 

So many themes!

 

Imo, tho, the 'prequels' were utter garbage, like really bad writing by teenagers, excessively verbose, bloated, wandering, unfocussed and empty. Not to mention not how I envisioned the distant past of 'Dune'...basically a ridiculous 'Matrix' style conflict...bah! I midly liked the Mechs with brains in cannisters...that is actually something that will inevitably happen. 

 

But no, whereas Frank was a deep thinker (recommend his book 'Green Brain' for more on these themes), Brian and co are intellectual colanders, representing to worst sci-fi writing has the offer.

 

But that God Emperor Worm tho!!! 😨

Edited by Astral Monk
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