Quotes from Frank Herbert's Dune Chronicles
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Most discipline is hidden discipline, designed not to liberate but to limit.
Do not ask Why? Be cautious with How? Why? leads inexorably to paradox.
How? traps you in a universe of cause and effect. Both deny the infinite.
-- The Apocrypha of Arrakis
Explosions are also compressions of time. Observable changes in the natural
universe all are explosive to some degree and from some point of view;
otherwise you would not notice them. Smooth Continuity of change, if slowed
sufficiently, goes without notice by observers whose time/attention span is
too short. Thus, I tell you, I have seen changes you would never have
-- Leto II
The existence of no-ships raises the possibility of destroying entire
planets without retaliation. A large object, asteroid or equivalent, may be
sent against the planet. Or the people can be set against each other by
sexual subversion, and then can be armed to destroy themselves. These
Honored Matres appear to favor this latter technique.
-- Bene Gesserit Analysis
Humans live best when each has his place to stand, when each knows where he be
longs in the scheme of things and what he may achieve. Destroy the place and
you destroy the person.
-- Bene Gesserit Teaching
Has not religion claimed a patent on creation for all of these millennia?
-- The Tleilaxu Question, from Muad'dib Speaks
Some days it's melange; some days it's bitter dirt.
-- Rakian Aphorism
The trouble with some kinds of warfare (and be certain the Tyrant knew this,
because it is implicit in his lesson) is that they destroy all moral decency
in susceptible types. Warfare of these kinds will dump the destroyed
survivors back into an innocent population that is incapable of even
imagining what such returned soldiers might do.
-- Teachings of the Golden Path, Bene Gesserit Archives
Ten thousand years since Leto II began his metamorphosis from human into the
sandworm of Rakis and historians still argue over his motives. Was he
driven by the desire for long life? He lived more than ten times the normal
span of three hundred SY, but consider the price he paid. Was it the lure
of power? He is called the Tyrant for good reason but what did power bring
him that a human might want? Was he driven to save humankind from itself?
We have only his own words about his Golden Path to answer this and I cannot
accept the self-serving records of Dar-es-Balat. Might there have been
other gratifications, which only his experiences would illuminate? Without
better evidence the question is moot. We are reduced to saying only that
"He did it!" The physical fact alone is undeniable.
-- The Metamorphosis of Leto II, 10,000th Anniversary Peroration by Gaus Andaud
Technology, in common with many other activities, tends toward avoidance of
risks by investors. Uncertainty is ruled out if possible. Capital
investment follows this rule, since people generally prefer the predictable.
Few recognize how destructive this can be, how it imposes severe limits on
variability and thus makes whole populations fatally vulnerable to the
shocking ways our universe can throw the dice.
-- Assessment of Ix, Bene Gesserit Archives
In my estimation, more misery has been created by reformers than by any
other force in human history. Show me someone who says "Something must be
done!" and I will show you a head full of vicious intentions that have no
other outlet. What we must strive for always! is to find the natural flow
and go with it.
-- The Reverend Mother Taraza, Conversational Record, BG File GSXXMAT9
The Tleilaxu secret must be in their sperm. Our tests prove that their
sperm does not carry forward in a straight genetic fashion. Gaps occur.
Every Tleilaxu we have examined has hidden his inner self from us. They are
naturally immune to an Ixian Probe! Secrecy at the deepest levels, that is
their ultimate armor and their ultimate weapon.
-- Bene Gesserit Analysis, Archives Code: BTXX441WOR
The outer surface of a balloon is always larger than the center of the
damned thing! That's the whole point of the Scattering!
-- Bene Gesserit response to an Ixian suggestion that new
investigative probes be sent out among the Lost Ones
The failure of CHOAM? Quite simple: They ignore the fact that larger
commercial powers wait at the edges of their activities, powers that could
swallow them the way a slig swallows garbage. This is the true threat of
the Scattering -- to them and to us all.
-- Bene Gesserit Council notes, Archives #SXX90CH
At the quantum level our universe can be seen as an indeterminate place,
predictable in a statistical way only when you employ large enough numbers.
Between that universe and a relatively predictable one where the passage of
a single planet can be timed to a picosecond, other forces come into play.
For the in-between universe where we find our daily lives, that which you
believe is a dominant force. Your beliefs order the unfolding of daily
events. If enough of us believe, a new thing can be made to exist. Belief
structure creates a filter through which chaos is sifted into order.
-- Analysis of the Tyrant, the Taraza File: BG Archives
Life cannot find reasons to sustain it, cannot be a source of decent mutual
regard, unless each of us resolves to breathe such qualities into it.
-- Chenoeh: "Conversations with Leto II"
Law always chooses sides on the basis of enforcement power. Morality and
legal niceties have little to do with it when the real question is: Who has
the clout?
-- Bene Gesserit Council Proceedings: Archives #XOX232
The basic rule is this: Never support weakness; always support strength.
-- The Bene Gesserit Coda
Nothing surpasses the complexity of the human mind.
-- Leto II: Dar-es-Balat Records
The significant fact is this: No Bene Tleilax female has ever been seen
away from the protection of their core planets. (Face Dancer mules who
simulate females do not count in this analysis. They cannot be breeders.)
The Tleilaxu sequester their females to keep them from our hands. This is
our primary deduction. It must also be in the eggs that the Tleilaxu
Masters conceal their most essential secrets.
-- Bene Gesserit Analysis -- Archives #XOXTM99 ..... 041
What social inheritances went outward with the Scattering? We know those
times intimately. We know both the mental and physical settings. The Lost
Ones took with them a consciousness confined mostly to manpower and
hardware. There was a desperate need for room to expand driven by the myth
of Freedom. Most had not learned the deeper lesson of the Tyrant, that
violence builds its own limits. The Scattering was wild and random movement
interpreted as growth (expansion). It was goaded by a profound fear (often
unconscious) of stagnation and death.
-- The Scattering: Bene Gesserit Analysis (Archives)
Liberty and Freedom are complex concepts. They go back to religious ideas
of Free Will and are related to the Ruler Mystique implicit in absolute
monarchs. Without absolute monarchs patterned after the Old Gods and ruling
by the grace of a belief in religious indulgence, Liberty and Freedom would
never have gained their present meaning. These ideals owe their very
existence to past examples of oppression. And the forces that maintain such
ideas will erode unless renewed by dramatic teaching or new oppressions.
This is the most basic key to my life.
-- Leto II, God Emperor of Dune: Dar-es-Balat Records
Quite naturally, holders of power wish to suppress wild research.
Unrestricted questing after knowledge has a long history of producing
unwanted competition. The powerful want a "safe line of investigations,"
which will develop only those products and ideas that can be controlled and,
most important, that will allow the larger part of the benefits to be
captured by inside investors. Unfortunately, a random universe full of
relative variables does not insure such a "safe line of investigations."
-- Assessment of Ix, Bene Gesserit Archives
Bureaucracy destroys initiative. There is little that bureaucrats hate more
than innovation, especially innovation that produces better results than the
old routines. Improvements always make those at the top of the heap look
inept. Who enjoys appearing inept?
-- A Guide to Trial and Error in Government, Bene Gesserit Archives
The long table on the right is set for a banquet of roast desert hare in
sauce cepeda. The other dishes, clockwise to the right from the far end of
the table, are aplomage sirian, chukka under glass, coffee with melange
(note the hawk crest of the Atreides on the urn), pot-a-oie and, in the
Balut crystal bottle, sparkling Caladan wine. Note the ancient poison
detector concealed in the chandelier.
-- Dar-es-Balat, Description at a Museum Display
People always want something more than immediate joy or that deeper sense
called happiness. This is one of the secrets by which we shape the
fulfillment of our designs. The something more assumes amplified power with
people who cannot give it a name or who (most often the case) do not even
suspect its existence. Most people only react unconsciously to such hidden
forces. Thus, we have only to call a calculated something more into
existence, define it and give it shape, then people will follow.
-- Leadership Secrets of the Bene Gesserit
There was this drylander who was asked which was more important, a literjon
of water or a vast pool of water? The drylander thought a moment and then
said: "The literjon is more important. No single person could own a great
pool of water. But a literjon you could hide under your cloak and run away
with it. No one would know."
-- The Jokes of Ancient Dune, Bene Gesserit Archives
By your belief in singularities, in granular absolutes, you deny movement,
even the movement of evolution! While you cause a granular universe to
persist in your awareness, you are blind to movement. When things change,
your absolute universe vanishes, no longer accessible to your self-limiting
perceptions. The universe has moved beyond you.
-- First Draft, Atreides Manifesto, Bene Gesserit Archives
We have long known that the objects of our palpable sense experiences can be
influenced by choice -- both conscious choice and unconscious. This is a
demonstrated fact that does not require that we believe some force within us
reaches out and touches the universe. I address a pragmatic relationship
between belief and what we identify as "real." All of our judgments carry a
heavy burden of ancestral beliefs to which we of the Bene Gesserit tend to
be more susceptible than most. It is not enough that we are aware of this
and guard against it. Alternative interpretations must always receive our
-- Mother Superior Taraza: Argument in Council
This is the awe-inspiring universe of magic: There are no atoms, only waves
and motions all around. Here, you discard all belief in barriers to
understanding. You put aside understanding itself. This universe cannot be
seen, cannot be heard, cannot be detected in any way by fixed perceptions.
It is the ultimate void where no preordained screens occur upon which forms
may be projected. You have only one awareness here -- the screen of the
magi: Imagination! Here, you learn what it is to be human. You are a
creator of order, of beautiful shapes and systems, an organizer of chaos.
-- The Atreides Manifesto, Bene Gesserit Archives
This room reconstructs a bit of the desert of Dune. The sandcrawler
directly in front of you dates from the Atreides times. Grouped around it,
moving clockwise from your left, are a small harvester, a carryall, a
primitive spice factory and the other support equipment. All are explained
at each station. Note the illuminated quotation above the display: "FOR
SAND." This ancient religious quotation was oft repeated by the famous
Gurney Halleck.
-- Guide Announcement, Museum of Dar-es-Balat
Our fathers ate manna in the desert,
In the burning place where whirlwinds came.
Lord, save us from that horrible land!
Save us, oh-h-h-h-h save us
From that dry and thirsty land.
-- Songs of Gurney Halleck, Museum of Dar-es-Balat
All organized religions face a common problem, a tender spot through which we
may enter and shift them to our designs: How do they distinguish hubris from
-- Missionaria Protectiva, the Inner Teachings
I remember friends from wars all but we forgot.
All of them distilled into each wound we caught.
Those wounds are all the painful places where we fought.
Battles better left behind, ones we never sought.
What is it that we spent and what was it we bought?
-- Songs of the Scattering
It is your fate, forgetfulness. All of the old lessons of life, you lose and
gain and lose and gain again.
-- Leto II, the Voice of Dar-es-Balat
Survival of self, of species, and of environment, these are what drive
humans. You can observe how the order of importance changes in a lifetime.
What are the things of immediate concern at a given age? Weather? The
state of the digestion? Does she (or he) really care? All of those various
hungers that flesh can sense and hope to satisfy. What else could possibly
-- Leto II to Hwi Noree, His Voice: Dar-es-Balat
There was a man who sat each day looking out through a narrow vertical
opening where a single board had been removed from a tall wooden fence.
Each day a wild ass of the desert passed outside the fence and across the
narrow opening -- first the nose, then the head, the forelegs, the long
brown back, the hindlegs, and lastly the tail. One day, the man leaped to
his feet with the light of discovery in his eyes and he shouted for all who
could hear him: "It is obvious! The nose causes the tail!"
-- Stories of the Hidden Wisdom, from the Oral History of Rakis
Historians exercise great power and some of them know it. They recreate the
past, changing it to fit their own interpretations. Thus, they change the
future as well.
-- Leto II, His Voice, from Dar-es-Balat
"I must rule with eye and claw -- as the hawk among lesser birds."
-- Atreides assertion (Ref: BG Archives)
Memory never recaptures reality. Memory reconstructs. All reconstructions
change the original, becoming external frames of reference that inevitably
fall short.
-- Mentat Handbook
Concealed behind strong barriers the heart becomes ice.
-- Darwi Odrade, Argument in Council
When strangers meet, great allowance should be made for differences of custom
and training.
-- The Lady Jessica, from "Wisdom of Arrakis"
May you die on Caladan!
-- Ancient Drinking Toast
The worst potential competition for any organism can come from its own kind.
The species consumes necessities. Growth is limited by that necessity which
is present in the least amount. The least favorable condition controls the
rate of growth. (Law of the Minimum)
-- From "Lessons of Arrakis"
O you who know what we suffer here, do not forget us in your prayers.
-- Sign over Arrakeen Landing Field (Historical Records: Dar-es-Balat)
The world is for the living. Who are they?
We dared the dark to reach the white and warm.
She was the wind when the wind was in my way.
Alive at noon, I perished in her form.
Who rise from the flesh to spirit know the fall:
The word outleaps the world and light is all.
-- Theodore Roethke (Historical Quotations: Dar-es-Balat)
Justice? Who asks for justice. We make our own justice. We make it here on
Arrakis -- win or die. Let us not rail about justice as long as we have arms
and the freedom to use them.
-- Leto I: Bene Gesserit Archives
We are not looking at a new state of matter but at a newly recognized
relationship between consciousness and matter, which provides a more
penetrating insight into the workings of prescience. The oracle shapes a
projected inner universe to produce new external probabilities out of forces
that are not understood. There is no need to understand these forces before
using them to shape the physical universe. Ancient metal workers had no
need to understand the molecular and submolecular complexities of their
steel, bronze, copper, gold, and tin. They invented mystical powers to
describe the unknown while they continued to operate their forges and wield
their hammers.
-- Mother Superior Taraza, Argument in Council