Thursday, August 2, 2012

Dune by the Numbers

Every 4th, 8th, 15th, Sixteenth, 23rd, and 42nd sentence from Frank Herbert's Dune:

And take the most special care that you locate Muad'Dib in his place: the planet Arrakis.

It was a warm night at Castle Caladan, and the ancient pile of stone that had served the Atreides family as home for twenty-six generations bore that cooled-sweat feeling it acquired before a change in the weather.

"So I've heard," wheezed the old woman.  "Yet he's already fifteen."

Within the shadows of his bed, Paul held his eyes open to mere slits.

Paul fell asleep to dream of an Arrakeen cavern, silent people all around him moving in the dim light of glowglobes. (from Book One)

He blamed everyone in sight, not excepting even me, for he said I was a witch like all the others.

"Now Harkonnen shall kill Harkonnen," Paul whispered.

"Lifting the shades wouldn't help," he whispered.  "There's been a storm."

The undermining emptiness of her words helped restore some of his calm.

My unknown mother, Jessica thought. (from Book Two)

It cost more than a million solaris in spice bribes, so my mother said, and there were other gifts as well: slave women, royal honors, and tokens of rank.

The Baron Vladimir Harkonnen raged down the corridor from his private apartments, flitting through patches of late afternoon sunlight that poured down from high windows.

Nefud stood, his face composed by the narcotic but with an overlay of paleness that told of his fear.  The semuta music had stopped.

"Almost two years."

"Did I not say to you that you were to tell me whenever he went into the quarters of the slave women?" (from Book Three)

The effect of Arrakis on the mind of the newcomer usually is that of overpowering barren land.

His mind went directly to the free-moving human population, the Fremen.

Then one marries a Fremen woman.  When she gives you a Fremen son, you begin with him, with Liet-Kynes, and the other children, teaching them ecological literacy, creating a new language with symbols that arm the mind to manipulate an entire landscape, its climate, seasonal limits, and finally to break through all ideas of force into the dazzling awareness of order.

"The entire landscape comes alive, filled with relationships and relationships within relationships."

They knew him: he was the Imperial servant. (from Appendix I)

But there are more profound points of accord between the Kitab al-Ibar of the Fremen and the teachings of Bible, Ilm, and Fiqh.

The agnostic ruling class (including the Guild) for whom religion was a kind of puppet show to amuse the populace and keep it docile, and those who believed essentially that all phenomena - even religious phenomena - could be reduced to mechanical explanations.

Immediately, space gave a different flavor and sense to ideas of Creation.  That difference is seen even in the highest religious achievements of the period.

"Increase and multiply, and fill the universe, and subdue it, and rule over all manner of strange beasts and living creatures in the infinite airs, on the infinite earths and beneath them."

For more than a standard year, that statement was the only announcement from C.E.T. (from Appendix II)

Analysis of their "trial of fact" on the Arrakis Affair betrays the school's profound ignorance of its own role.

In simpler terms, what they sought was a human with mental powers permitting him to understand and use higher order dimensions.

The plan was to inbreed this daughter with Feyd-Rautha Harkonne, a nephew of the Baron Vladimir, with the high probability of a Kwisatz Haderach from that union.  Instead, for reasons she confesses have never been clear to her, the concubine Lady Jessica defied her orders and bore a son.

When Family Atreides moved to the planet Arrakis, the Fremen population there hailed the young Paul as a prophet, "the voice of the outer world." (from Appendix III)

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