Dune by Frank Herbert

  • A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct
  • one does not obtain food-safety-freedom by instinct alone … animal consciousness a (1)does not extend beyond the given moment nor into the idea that its victims may become extinct
  • There must be terrible purpose in it … the pain and fear had been terrible. He understood terrible purposes. They drove against all odds. They were their own necessity
  • To set you free.” “Free?” “Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free. But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them.” “ ‘Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a man’s mind,’ ” Paul quoted.
  • His voice came out tenor with a sweet, musical quality. (Emphasis on voice, tone as seen previously with Jessica, Paul and the old woman. The author stress on the tenor of voices to set the mood, introduce a character, their personality. Seems a bit odd in context but hopefully the implications of the descriptions will be seen later on)
  • Sardaukar (Sardaukar: Sarkar+Sardar?)
  • In politics, the tripod is the most unstable of all structures.
  • “The willow submits to the wind and prospers until one day it is many willows — a wall against the wind. This is the willow’s purpose.”
  • That people could want so for water they had to recycle their body moisture struck him with a feeling of desolation. “Water’s precious there,” he said.
  • “As the Duke’s son you’ll never want for it, but you’ll see the pressures of thirst all around you.”
  • “Grave this on your memory, lad: A world is supported by four things … ” She held up four big-knuckled fingers. “… the learning of the wise, the justice of the great, the prayers of the righteous and the valor of the brave”
  • She asked me to tell her what it is to rule,” Paul said. “And I said that one commands. And she said I had some unlearning to do.”
  • She said the mystery of life isn’t a problem to solve, but a reality to experience.
  • chiefly noted as betrayer of Duke Leto Atreides (Author has already informed the reader on Yeuh’s character, that he betrayed Leto, instead of the reader finding out for himself through the course of the story.)
  • What I do is done to be certain my Wanna no longer can be hurt by the Harkonnen beasts (is this the reason for Yueh’s betrayal?)
  • “How could you win the loyalty of such men?” “There are proven ways: play on the certain knowledge of their superiority, the mystique of secret covenant, the esprit of shared suffering. It can be done. It has been done on many worlds in many times. (The S.S. Nazi and Hitler connection.)
  • We know the Harkonnen policy with planetary populations — spend as little as possible to maintain them
  • You must teach me someday how you do that,” he said, “the way you thrust your worries aside and turn to practical matters. It must be a Bene Gesserit thing.” “It’s a female thing,” she
  • “The mind commands the body and it obeys. The mind orders itself and meets resistance.
  • “My Lady, when one has lived with prophecy for so long, the moment of revelation is a shock.”
  • What delicious abandon in the sleep of a child
  • But never twice the same,” he said. “It’s like life—it presents a different face each time you take it. Some hold that the spice produces a learned-flavor reaction. The body, learning a thing is good for it, interprets the flavor as pleasurable—slightly euphoric. And, like life, never to be truly synthesized.” (Properties of the spice)a (2)
  • She sighed. “ … motivating people, forcing them to your will, gives you a cynical attitude toward humanity. It degrades everything it touches. If I made him do … this, then it would not be his doing.”
  • Any road followed precisely to its end leads precisely nowhere. Climb the mountain just a little bit to test that it’s a mountain. From the top of the mountain, you cannot see the mountain.
  • Please permit the room to convey a lesson we learned from the same teachers: the proximity of a desirable thing tempts one to overindulgence. On that path lies danger.
  • “Of course, my Lord. You asked what they were shouting, though. It was ‘Mahdi!’ They directed the term at the young master. When they—” “At Paul?” “Yes, my Lord. They’ve a legend here, a prophecy, that a leader will come to them, child of a Bene Gesserit, to lead them to true freedom. It follows the familiar messiah pattern.”
  • On that first day when Muad’Dib rode through the streets of Arrakeen with his family, some of the people along the way recalled the legends and the prophecy and they ventured to shout: “Mahdi!” But their shout was more a question than a statement, for as yet they could only hope he was the one foretold as the Lisan al-Gaib, the Voice from the Outer World. Their attention was focused, too, on the mother, because they had heard she was a Bene Gesserit and it was obvious to them that she was like the other Lisan al-Gaib.
  • Straight overhead, the stars were a sequin shawl flung over blue-black. Low on the southern horizon, the night’s second moon peered through a thin dust haze—an unbelieving moon that looked at him with a cynical light.
  • “We cannot kill off large segments of our population with poison—and we cannot be attacked this way, either. Arrakis makes us moral and ethical.” (The Duke is in a constant battle of right and wrong. There is a thin line between the two, the line being Arrakis)
  • But the young body carried a sense of command, a poised assurance, as though he saw and knew things all around him that were not visible to others
  • And Kynes rubbed his cheek, thinking of the legend: “He shall know your ways as though born to them.”
  • The Lisan al-Gaib shall see through all subterfuge.
  • Without turning, Kynes said; “When God hath ordained a creature to die in a particular place. He causeth that creature’s wants to direct him to that place.”
  • Greatness is a transitory experience. It is never consistent. It depends in part upon the myth-making imagination of humankind. The person who experiences greatness must have a feeling for the myth he is in. He must reflect what is projected upon him. And he must have a strong sense of the sardonic. This is what uncouples him from belief in his own pretensions. The sardonic is all that permits him to move within himself. Without this quality, even occasional greatness will destroy a man. —from “Collected Sayings of Muad’Dib” by the Princess Irulan

  • There’s deception in his words, Jessica thought. Why is he lying? Paul wondered. (Paul and Jessica, mother and son seem to be on equal level of consciousness, detecting deception in others instantaneously. Where one’s thoughts end, the other’s begins.)
  • They were cheap masks locked on festering thoughts—voices gabbling to drown out the loud silence in every breast.
  • Growth is limited by that necessity which is present in the least amount. And, naturally, the least favorable condition controls the growth rate.
  • to see certainty of truth when the stress is great
  • There should be a science of discontent. People need hard times and oppression to develop psychic muscles.
  • “I never could bring myself to trust a traitor,” the Baron said. “Not even a traitor I created.”
  • And she knew where she had seen such a look before: pictured in records of disasters—on the faces of children who experienced starvation or terrible injury. The eyes were like pits, mouth a straight line, cheeks indrawn. It’s the look of terrible awareness, she thought, of someone forced to the knowledge of his own mortality.
  • Paul heard his mother’s grief and felt the emptiness within himself. I have no grief, he thought. Why? Why? He felt the inability to grieve as a terrible flaw.
  • There was time to probe and test and taste, but no time to shape.
  • “The spice,” he said, “It’s in everything here—the air, the soil, the food. The geriatric spice. It’s like the Truthsayer drug. It’s a poison!”
  • We carry our past with us. And, mother mine, there’s a thing you don’t know and should—we are Harkonnensa (3)
  • The daughter the Bene Gesserit wanted—it wasn’t to end the old Atreides-Harkonnen feud, but to fix some genetic factor in their lines. What? She groped for an answer.
  • But I’m not what they expected, and I’ve arrived before my time
  • “They’ll call me … Muad’Dib, ‘The One Who Points the Way.’ Yes … that’s what they’ll call me.”
  • “I heard the storm begin,” Jessica said. The undemanding emptiness of her words helped restore some of his calm
  • My father once told me that respect for the truth comes close to being the basis for all morality. “Something cannot emerge from nothing,” he said. This is profound thinking if you understand how unstable “the truth” can be. —from “Conversations with Muad’Dib” by the Princess Irulan

  • “Any man who retreats into a cave which has only one opening deserves to die,” the Fremen said.
  • “Paradise were sure for a man who died in the service of Lisan al-Gaib,” the Fremen said. “If it is the Lisan al-Gaib you serve, as you have said it, why raise mourning cries? The memory of one who died in this fashion will live as long as the memory of man endures.”
  • Muad’Dib could indeed, see the Future, but you must understand the limits of this power. Think of sight. You have eyes, yet cannot see without light
  • He tells us “The vision of time is broad, but when you pass through it, time becomes a narrow door.”
  • An ozone smell permeated the place. (Frank Herbert is evoking the auditory, olfactory and visual senses. His world-building is strongly supported by these fractions of rich descriptions of the terrain.)
  • Paul remained standing for another eyeblink. A faint anomaly in the room’s air currents told him there was a secret exit to their right behind the filing cabinets
  • It was as though he had seen himself from a distance go out of sight down into a valley. Of the countless paths up out of that valley, some might carry a Paul Atreides back into sight, but many would not.
  • “Better a dry morsel and quietness therewith than a house full of sacrifice and strife.”
  • Fortune passes everywhere,” Halleck said. “Everywhere,” Tuek said. “A time of upset is a rare opportunity for our business. (Commentary on world wars which have always been proven profitable for some enterprises especially those involved with weaponry and training.)
  • We came from Caladan—a paradise world for our form of fife. There existed no need on Caladan to build a physical paradise or a paradise of the mind—we could see the actuality all around us. And the price we paid was the price men have always paid for achieving a paradise in this life—we went soft, we lost our edge.
  • “Move slowly and the day of your revenge will come,” Tuek said. “Speed is a device of Shaitan. Cool your sorrow—we’ve the diversions for it; three things there are that ease the heart—water, green grass, and the beauty of woman
  • Subtlety and self-control were, after all, the most deadly threats to us all.
  • This Fremen religious adaptation, then, is the source of what we now recognize as “The Pillars of the Universe,” whose Qizara Tafwid are among us all with signs and proofs and prophecy. They bring us the Arrakeen mystical fusion whose profound beauty is typified by the stirring music built on the old forms, but stamped with the new awakening.
  • The real wealth of a planet is in its landscape, how we take part in that basic source of civilization—agriculture.
  • “Men and their works have been a disease on the surface of their planets before now,” his father said
  • “Religion and law among our masses must be one and the same,” his father said. “An act of disobedience must be a sin and require religious penalties. This will have the dual benefit of bringing both greater obedience and greater bravery. We must depend not so much on the bravery of individuals, you see, as upon the bravery of a whole population.”
  • “If you are the Bene Gesserit of the legend whose son will lead us to paradise … ” He shrugged. Jessica sighed, thinking: So our Missionaria Protectiva even planted religious safety valves all through this hell hole. Ah, well … it’ll help, and that’s what it was meant to do.
  • How much is actual prediction of the “waveform” (as Muad’Dib referred to his vision-image) and how much is the prophet shaping the future to fit the prophecy? What of the harmonics inherent in the act of prophecy
  • “Well, now, to answer your question, my young wali, I am one who does not pay the fai, the water tribute, to the Harkonnens. That is why I might welcome a fugitive.”
  • this was the language of Ilm and Fiqh
  • She must’ve been good, that Bene Gesserit of the Missionaria Protectiva. These Fremen are beautifully prepared to believe in us.
  • Paul started to speak, hesitated, remembering his mother’s teaching: “Beginnings are such delicate times. ”
  • The Fremen were supreme in that quality the ancients called “spannungsbogen”—which is the self-imposed delay between desire for a thing and the act of reaching out to grasp that thing. —from “The Wisdom of Muad’Dib” by the Princess Irulan

  • “We change it … slowly but with certainty … to make it fit for human life. Our generation will not see it, nor our children nor our children’s children nor the grandchildren of their children … but it will come.” He stared with veiled eyes out over the basin. “Open water and tall green plants and people walking freely without stillsuits.” So that’s the dream of this Liet-Kynes, she thought. And she said: “Bribes are dangerous; they have a way of growing larger and larger.”
  • There came over her then a longing for a rainbow in this place that would never see rain. I must suppress such longings, she thought. They’re a weakness. I no longer can afford weaknesses.
  • A leader, you see, is one of the things that distinguishes a mob from a people. He maintains the level of individuals. Too few individuals, and a people reverts to a mob
  • He wants a sign from me, but he’ll not tip fate by telling me the sign.
  • Awareness flowed into that timeless stratum where he could view time, sensing the available paths, the winds of the future … the winds of the past: the one-eyed vision of the past, the one-eyed vision of the present and the one-eyed vision of the future—all combined in a trinocular vision that permitted him to see time-become-space.
  • A kind of Heisenberg indeterminacy intervened: the expenditure of energy that revealed what he saw, changed what he saw.
  • And what he saw was a time nexus within this cave, a boiling of possibilities focused here, wherein the most minute action—the wink of an eye, a careless word, a misplaced grain of sand—moved a gigantic lever across the known universe. He saw violence with the outcome subject to so many variables that his slightest movement created vast shiftings in the pattern.
  • Paul swallowed. He felt that he played a part already played over countless times in his mind … yet … there were differences. He could see himself perched on a dizzying summit, having experienced much and possessed of a profound store of knowledge, but all around him was abyss. And again he remembered the vision of fanatic legions following the green and black banner of the Atreides, pillaging and burning across the universe in the name of their prophet Muad’Dib. That must not happen, he told himself.
  • There was no past occupying the future in his mind … except … except … he could still sense the green and black Atreides banner waving … somewhere ahead … still see the jihad’s bloody swords and fanatic legions. It will not be, he told himself. I cannot let it be.
  • Memory of Duncan Idaho’s voice flowed through Paul’s awareness: “When your opponent fears you, then’s the moment when you give the fear its own rein, give it the time to work on him. Let it become terror. The terrified man fights himself. Eventually, he attacks in desperation. That is the most dangerous moment, but the terrified man can be trusted usually to make a fatal mistake. You are being trained here to detect these mistakes and use them. ”
  • “I will tell you a thing about your new name,” Stilgar said. “The choice pleases us. 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. We welcome you.”
  • The meeting between ignorance and knowledge, between brutality and culture—it begins in the dignity with which we treat our dead.a (4)
  • He felt a new sense of wonder at the limits of his gift. It was as though he rode within the wave of time, sometimes in its trough, sometimes on a crest—and all around him the other waves lifted and fell, revealing and then hiding what they bore on their surface.
  • He realized suddenly that it was one thing to see the past occupying the present, but the true test of prescience was to see the past in the future.
  • Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic.
  • The Padishah Emperor turned against House Atreides because the Duke’s Warmasters Gurney Halleck and Duncan Idaho had trained a fighting force — a small fighting force — to within a hair as good as the Sardaukar. Some of them were even better. And the Duke was in a position to enlarge his force, to make it every bit as strong as the Emperor’s.
  • But it’s well known that repression makes a religion flourish.
  • “The Fremen have a simple, practical religion,” he said. “Nothing about religion is simple,” she warned. But Paul, seeing the clouded future that still hung over them, found himself swayed by anger. He could only say: “Religion unifies our forces. It’s our mystique.” “You deliberately cultivate this air, this bravura,” she charged. “You never cease indoctrinating.” “Thus you yourself taught me,” he said.
  • In the landscape of a myth he could not orient himself and say: “I am I because I am here.”
  • She had quoted a Bene Gesserit proverb to him: “When religion and politics travel in the same cart, the riders believe nothing can stand in their way. Their movement become headlong — faster and faster and faster. They put aside all thought of obstacles and forget that a precipice does not show itself to the man in a blind rush until it’s too late.”
  • You cannot avoid the interplay of politics within an orthodox religion. This power struggle permeates the training, educating and disciplining of the orthodox community. Because of this pressure, the leaders of such a community inevitably must face that ultimate internal question: to succumb to complete opportunism as the price of maintaining their rule, or risk sacrificing themselves for the sake of the orthodox ethic. —from “Muad’Dib: The Religious Issues” by the Princess Irulan

  • What can his desert woman do for a Duke except serve him coffee? she asked herself. She brings him no power, no family. Paul has only one major chance — to ally himself with a powerful Great House, perhaps even with the Imperial family. There are marriageable princesses, after all, and every one of them Bene Gesserit trained. Jessica imagined herself leaving the rigors of Arrakis for the life of power and security she could know as mother of a royal consort. She glanced at the thick hangings that obscured the rock of this cavern cell, thinking of how she had come here — riding amidst a host of worms, the palanquins and pack platforms piled high with necessities for the coming campaign. As long as Chani lives, Paul will not see his duty, Jessica thought. She has given him a son and that is enough. (Jessica’s shocking change of attitude towards her sons security in the Imperium, and his beloved Chani who now seems more of an obstacle in Paul’s confirming to his duties. Will she now become the betrayer she was thought of as by Hawat and Gurney?)
  • We must not lose that man, Jessica thought. Paul’s plan must work. Anything else would be highest tragedy.
  • Jessica translated it to herself: “Long live the fighters of Muad’Dib!” The scene she and Paul and Stilgar had cooked up between them had worked as they’d planned.
  • Paul said: “There is in each of us an ancient force that takes and an ancient force that gives. A man finds little difficulty facing that place within himself where the taking force dwells, but it’s almost impossible for him to see into the giving force without changing into something other than man. For a woman, the situation is reversed.”
  • “He who can destroy a thing has the real control of it,” Paul said. “We can destroy the spice.”
  • The language of the Great Convention is clear enough: ‘Use of atomics against humans shall be cause for planetary obliteration.’ We’re going to blast the Shield Wall, not humans.
  • They’d never known anything but victory which, Paul realized, could be a weakness in itself. He put that thought aside for later consideration in his own training program
  • “Stop playing the fool,” Paul barked. “The Guild is like a village beside a river. They need the water, but can only dip out what they require. They cannot dam the river and control it, because that focuses attention on what they take, it brings down eventual destruction. The spice flow, that’s their river, and I have built a dam. But my dam is such that you cannot destroy it without destroying the river.”
  • Did the legend not say: “And his word shall carry death eternal to those who stand against righteousness.”
  • He had thought to oppose the jihad within himself, but the jihad would be. His legions would rage out from Arrakis even without him. They needed only the legend he already had become
  • We Fremen have a saying: ‘God created Arrakis to train the faithful.’ One cannot go against the word of God.”
  • Beyond a critical point within a finite space, freedom diminishes as numbers increase. This is as true of humans in the finite space of a planetary ecosystem as it is of gas molecules in a sealed flask. The human question is not how many can possibly survive within the system, but what kind of existence is possible for those who do survive. —Pardot Kynes, First Planetologist of Arrakis

  • Life — all life — is in the service of life
  • Ingsley’s comment is perhaps the only one possible: “Those were times of deep paradox.”5
  • The Bene Gesserit, who privately denied they were a religious order, but who operated behind an almost impenetrable screen of ritual mysticism, and whose training, whose symbolism, organization, and internal teaching methods were almost wholly religious;
  • “We are here to remove a primary weapon from the hands of disputant religions. That weapon — the claim to possession of the one and only revelation.”
  • Historians estimate the riots took eighty million lives. That works out to about six thousand for each world then in the Landsraad League. Considering the unrest of the time, this may not be an excessive estimate, although any pretense to real accuracy in the figure must be just that — pretense. Communication between worlds was at one of its lowest ebbs.
  • Riots and comedy are but symptoms of the times, profoundly revealing. They betray the psychological tone, the deep uncertainties … and the striving for something better, plus the fear that nothing would come of it all.
  • All men seek to be enlightened. Religion is but the most ancient and honorable way in which men have striven to make sense out of God’s universe. Scientists seek the lawfulness of events. It is the task of Religion to fit man into this lawfulness
  • All men must see that the teaching of religion by rules and rote is largely a hoax. The proper teaching is recognized with ease
  • You can know it without fail because it awakens within you that sensation which tells you this is something you’ve always known.”
  • Religion must remain an outlet for people who say to themselves, ‘I am not the kind of person I want to be.’ It must never sink into an assemblage of the self-satisfied.”
  • Mysticism isn’t difficult when you survive each second by surmounting open hostility
  • When religion and politics ride the same cart, when that cart is driven by a living holy man (baraka), nothing can stand in their path.”
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