Quotes from Frank Herbert's Dune Chronicles
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I am the most ardent people-watcher who ever lived. I watch them inside me and
outside. Past and present can mingle with odd impositions in me. And as the
metamorphosis continues in my flesh wonderful things happen to my senses.
It's as though I sensed everything in close-up. I have extremely acute hearing
and vision, plus a sense of smell extraordinarily discriminating. I can detect
and identify pheromones at three parts per million. I know. I have tested it.
You cannot hide very much from my senses. I think it would horrify you what
I can detect by smell alone. Your pheromones tell me what you are doing or are
prepared to do. And gesture and posture! I stared for half a day once at an old
man sitting on a bench in Arrakeen. He was a fifth-generation descendant of
Stilgar the Naib and did not even know it. I studied the angle of his neck,
the skin flaps below his chin, the cracked lips and moistness about his
nostrils, the pores behind his ears, the wisps of gray hair which crept from
beneath the hood of his antique stillsuit. Not once did he detect that he was
being watched. Hah! Stilgar would have known it in a second or two. But this
old man was just waiting for someone who never came. He got up finally and
tottered off. He was very stiff after all of that sitting. I knew I would
never see him in the flesh again. He was that near death and his water was
sure to be wasted. Well, that no longer mattered.
-- The Stolen Journals
Oh, the landscapes I have seen! And the people! The far wanderings of the
Fremen and all the rest of it. Even back through the myths to Terra. Oh, the
lessons in astronomy and intrigue, the migrations, the disheveled flights, the
leg aching and lung-aching runs through so many nights on all of those cosmic
specks where we have defended our transient possession. I tell you we are a
marvel and my memories leave no doubt of this.
-- The Stolen Journals
Sometimes I indulge myself in safaris which no other being may take. I strike
inward along the axis of my memories. Like a schoolchild reporting on a
vacation trip, I take up my subject. Let it be . . . female intellectuals!
I course backward into the ocean which is my ancestors. I am a great winged
fish in the depths. The mouth of my awareness opens and I scoop them up!
Sometimes... sometimes I hunt out specific persons recorded in our histories.
What a private joy to relive the life of such a one while I mock the academic
pretentions which supposedly formed a biography.
-- The Stolen Journals
You, the first person to encounter my chronicles for at least four thousand
years, beware. Do not feel honored by your primacy in reading the revelations
of my Ixian storehouse. You will find much pain in it. Other than the few
glimpses required to assure me that the Golden Path continued. I never wanted
to peer beyond those four millennia. Therefore, I am not sure what the events
in my journals may signify to your times. I only know that my journals have
suffered oblivion and that the events which I recount have undoubtedly been
submitted to historical distortion for eons. I assure you that the ability
to view our futures can become a bore. Even to be thought of as a god,
as I certainly was, can become ultimately boring. It has occurred to me
more than once that holy boredom is good and sufficient reason for the
invention of free will.
-- Inscription on the storehouse at bar-es-Balat
I tell you this in the hope that it will help you understand why I ad as I do
in the full knowledge that great forces accumulate in my Empire with but one
wish-the wish to destroy me. You who read these words may know full well what
actually happened, but I doubt that you understand it.
-- The Stolen Journals
Some say I have no conscience. How false they are, even to themselves.
I am the only conscience which has ever existed. As wine retains the perfume
of its cask, I retain the essence of my most ancient genesis, and that is
the seed of conscience. That is what makes me holy. I am God because I am
the only one who really knows his heredity!
-- The Stolen Journals
You must remember that I have at my internal demand every expertise known to
our history. This is the fund of energy I -draw upon when I address the
mentality of war. If you have not heard the moaning cries of the wounded and
the dying, you do not know about war. I have heard those cries in such numbers
that they haunt me. I have cried out myself in the aftermath of battle. I have
suffered wounds in every epoch-wounds from fist and club and rock, from
shell-studded limb and bronze sword, from the mace and the cannon, from arrows
and lasguns and the silent smothering of atomic dust, from biological invasions
which blacken the tongue and drown the lungs, from the swift gush of flame and
the silent working of slow poisons. . . and more I will not recount! I have
seen and felt them all. To those who dare ask why I behave as I do, I say: With
my memories, I can do nothing else. I am not a coward and once I was human.
-- The Stolen Journals
Your Lord knows very well what is in your heart. Your soul suffices this day as
a reckoner against you. I need no witnesses. You do not listen to your soul,
but listen instead to your anger and your rage.
-- Lord Leto to a Penitent, From the Oral History
Odd as it may seem, great struggles such as the one you can see emerging from
my journals are not always visible to the participants. Much depends on what
people dream in the secrecy of their hearts. I have always been as concerned
with the shaping of dreams as with the shaping of actions. Between the lines of
my journals is the struggle with humankind's view of itself-a sweaty contest on
a field where motives from our darkest past can well up out of an unconscious
reservoir and become events with which we not only must live but contend.
It is the hydraheaded monster which always attacks from your blind side.
I pray, therefore, that when you have traversed my portion of the Golden Path
you no longer will be innocent children dancing to music you cannot hear.
-- The Stolen Journals
How sad it was that the Shadout of old had become today's Fish Speaker. And a
true crysknife had been used to bind a servant more strongly to her master.
He knew that some thought his Fish Speakers were really priestesses
-- Leto's answer to the Bene Gesserit.
The Duncans always think it odd that I choose women for combat forces, but my
Fish Speakers are a temporary army in every sense. While they can be violent
and vicious, women are profoundly different from men in their dedication to
battle. The cradle of genesis ultimately predisposes them to behavior more
protective of life. They have proved to be the best keepers of the Golden Path.
I reinforce this in my design for their training. They are set aside for a time
from ordinary routines. I give them special sharings which they can look back
upon' with pleasure for the rest of their lives. They come of age in the
company of their sisters in preparation for events more profound. What you
share in such companionship always prepares you for greater things. The haze
of nostalgia covers their days among their sisters, making those days into
something different than they were. That's the way today changes history.
All contemporaries do not inhabit the same time. The past is always changing,
but few realize it.
-- The Stolen Journals
I know the evil of my ancestors because I am those people. The balance is
delicate in the extreme. I know that few of you who read my words have ever
thought about your ancestors this way. It has not occurred to you that your
ancestors were survivors and that the survival itself sometimes involved savage
decisions, a kind of wanton brutality which civilized humankind works very hard
to suppress. What price will you pay for that suppression? Will you accept your
own extinction?
-- The Stolen Journals
What is the most profound difference between us, between you and me? You
already know it. It's these ancestral memories. Mine come at me in the full
glare of awareness. Yours work from your blind side. Some call it instinct or
fate. The memories apply their leverages to each of us-on what we think and
what we do. You think you are immune to such influences? I am Galileo. I stand
here and tell you: "Yet it moves." That which moves can exert its force in ways
no mortal power ever before dared stem. I am here to dare this.
-- The Stolen Journals
The female sense of sharing originated as familial sharing-care of the young,
the gathering and preparation of food, sharing joys, love and sorrows. Funeral
lamentation originated with women. Religion began as a female monopoly, wrested
from them only after its social power became too dominant. Women were the first
medical researchers and Practitioners. There has never been any clear balance
between the sexes because power goes with certain roles as it certainly goes
with knowledge.
-- The Stolen Journals
Unceasing warfare gives rise to its own social conditions which have been
similar in all epochs. People enter a permanent state of alertness to ward
off attacks. You seethe absolute rule of the autocrat. All new things become
dangerous frontier districts-new planets, new economic areas to exploit, new
ideas or new devices, visitors-everything suspect. Feudalism takes firm hold,
sometimes disguised as a politbureau or similar structure, but always present.
Hereditary succession follows the lines of power. The blood of the powerful
dominates. The vice regents of heaven or their equivalent apportion the wealth.
And their know they must control inheritance or slowly let the power melt away.
Now, do you understand Leto's Peace?
-- The Stolen Journals
Our ancestor, Assur-nasir-apli, who was known as the cruelest of the cruel,
seized the throne by slaying his own father and starting the reign of the
sword. His conquests included the Ururnia Lake region. which led him to
Commagene and Khabur. His son received tribute from the Shuites, from Tyre,
Sidon, Gebel and even from Jehu, son of Omri whose very name struck terror
into thousands. The conquests which began with Assur-nasirapli carried arms
into Media and later into Israel, Damascus, Edom, Arpad, Babylon and Umlias.
Does anyone remember these names and places now? I have given you enough clues:
Try to name the planet.
-- The Stolen Journals
I am beginning to hate water. The sandtrout skin which impels my metamorphosis
has learned the sensitivities of the worm. Moneo and many of my guards know my
aversion, Only Moneo suspects the truth, that this marks an important waypoint.
I can feel my ending in it, not soon as Moneo measures time, but soon enough as
I endure it. Sandtrout swarmed to water in the Dune days, a problem during the
early stages of our symbiosis. The enforcement of my will power controlled the
urge then, and until we reached a time of balance. Now, I must avoid water
because there are no other sandtrout, only the half dormant creatures of my
skin. Without sandtrout to bring this world back to desert, Shai-Hulud will not
emerge; the sandworm cannot evolve until the land is parched. I am their only
-- The Stolen Journals
"Another Festival so soon?" the Lord Leto asked.
"It has been ten years," the majordomo said.
Do you think by this exchange that the Lord Leto betrays an ignorance of time's
-- The Oral History
From that welter of memories which I can tap at will, patterns emerge. They are
like another language which I see so clearly The social-alarm signals which put
societies into the postures of defense attack are like shouted words to me.
As a people. you react against threats to innocence and the peril of the
helpless young. Unexplained sounds, visions and smells raise the hackles you
have forgotten you possess. When alarmed, you cling to your native language
because all the other patterned sounds are strange. You demand acceptable
dress because a strange costume is threatening. This is system feedback at
its most primitive level. Your cells remember
-- The Stolen Journals
Safaris through ancestral memories teach me many things. The patterns, ahhh,
the patterns Liberal bigots are the ones who trouble me most. I distrust the
extremes. Scratch a conservative and you find someone who prefers the past over
any future. Scratch a liberal and find a closet aristocrat. It's true! Liberal
governments always develop into aristocracies The bureaucracies betray the true
intent of people who form such governments. Right from the first, the little
people who formed the governments which promised to equalize the social burdens
found themselves suddenly in the hands of bureaucratic aristocracies. Of
course, all bureaucracies follow this pattern. but what a hypocrisy to find
this even under a communized banner Ahhh, well, if patterns teach me anything
it's that patterns are repeated. My oppressions. by and large, are no worse
than any of the others and, at least. I teach a new lesson.
-- The Stolen Journals
The trance-state of prophecy is like no other visionary experience. It is not
a retreat from the raw exposure of the senses (as are many trance-states) but
an immersion in a multitude of new movements. Things moue. It is an ultimate
pragmatism in the midst of Infinity, a demanding consciousness where you come
at last into the unbroken awareness that the universe moves of itself, that it
changes, that its rules change. that nothing remains permanent or absolute
throughout all such movement, that mechanical explanations for anything can
work only within precise confinements and, once the walls are broken down, the
old explanations shatter and dissolve, blown away by new movements. The things
you see in this trance are sobering, often shattering They demand your utmost
effort to remain whole and. even so, you emerge from that state profoundly
-- The Stolen Journals
When I set out to lead humankind along my Golden Path. I promised them a lesson
their bones would remember. I know a profound pattern which humans deny with
their words even while their actions affirm it. They say they seek security and
quiet, the condition they call peace. Even as they speak. they create the seeds
of turmoil and violence. If they find their quiet security. they squirm in it.
How boring they find it. Look at them now. Look at what they do while I record
these words. Hah! I give them enduring eons of enforced tranquility which plods
on and on despite their every effort to escape into chaos. Believe me, the
memory of Leto's Peace shall abide with them forever. They will seek their
quiet security thereafter only with extreme caution and steadfast preparation.
-- The Stolen Journals
As each day passes, you become increasingly unreal, more alien and remote from
what I find myself to be on that new day. I am the only reality and, as you
differ from me, you lose reality. The more curious I become, the less curious
are those who worship me. Religion suppresses curiosity. What I do subtracts
from the worshipper. Thus it is that eventually I will do nothing, giving it
all back to frightened people who will ,find themselves on that day alone and
forced to act for themselves.
-- The Stolen Journals
The problem of leadership is inevitably: Who will play God?
-- Muad'Dib. From the Oral History
I am both father and mother to my people. I have known the ecstasy of birth and
the ecstasy of death and I know the patterns that you must team. Have I not
wandered intoxicated through the universe of shapes? Yes! I have seen you
outlined in light. That universe which you say you see and feel, that universe
is my dream. My energies focus upon it and I am in any realm and every realm.
Thus, you are born.
-- The Stolen Journals
I have isolated the city-experience within me and have examined it closely.
The idea of a city fascinates me. The formation of a biological community
without a functioning, supportive social community leads to havoc. Whole
worlds have become single biological communities without an interrelated
social structure and this has always led to ruin. It becomes dramatically
instructive under overcrowded conditions. The ghetto is lethal. Psychic
stresses of overcrowding create pressures which will erupt. The city is an
attempt to manage these forces. The social forms by which cities make the
attempt are worth study. Remember that there exists a certain malevolence
about the formation of any social order. It is the struggle for existence
by an artificial entity. Despotism and slavery hover at the edges.
Many injuries occur and, thus, the need for laws. The law develops its
own power structure, creating more wounds and new injustices. Such trauma
can be healed by cooperation, not by confrontation. The summons to cooperate
identifies the healer.
-- The Stolen Journals
The singular multiplicity of this universe draws my deepest attention.
It is a thing of ultimate beauty.
-- The Stolen Journals
Groups tend to condition their surroundings for group survival. When they
deviate from this it may be taken as a sign of group sickness. There are
many telltale symptoms. I watch the sharing of food. This is a form of
communication, an inescapable sign of mutual aid which also contains a deadly
signal of dependency. It is interesting that men are the ones who usually tend
the landscape today. They are husband-men. Once, that was the sole province of
-- The Stolen Journals
If you know all of your ancestors, you were a personal witness to the events
which created the myths and religions of our past. Recognizing this, you must
think of me as a myth-maker.
-- The Stolen Journals
Let there be no doubt that I am the assemblage of our ancestors, the arena in
which they exercise my moments. They are my cells and I am their body. This is
the favrashi of which I speak, the soul, the collective unconscious, the source
of archetypes, the repository of all trauma and joy. I am the choice of their
awakening. My samhadi is their samhadi. Their experiences are mine! Their
knowledge distilled is mfr inheritance. Those billions are my one.
-- The Stolen Journals
"Make no heroes," my father said.
-- The voice of Ghanima, From the Oral History
The prophet is not diverted by illusions of past, present and future. The
fixity of language determines such linear distinctions. Prophets hold a key to
the lock in a language. The mechanical image remains only an image to them.
This is not a mechanical universe. The linear progression of events is imposed
by the observer. Cause and effect? That's not it at all. The prophet utters
fateful words. You glimpse a thing "destined to occur." But the prophetic
instant releases something of infinite portent and power. The universe
undergoes a ghostly shift. Thus, the wise prophet conceals actuality behind
shimmering labels. The uninitiated then believe the prophetic language is
ambiguous. The listener distrusts the prophetic messenger. Instinct tells
you how the utterance blunts the power of such words. The best prophets
lead you up to the curtain and let you peer through for yourself.
-- The Stolen Journals
The pattern of monarchies and similar systems has a message of value for all
political forms. My memories assure me that governments of any kind could
profit from this message. Governments can be useful to the governed only so
long as inherent tendencies toward tyranny are restrained. Monarchies have
some good features beyond their star qualities. They can reduce the size and
parasitic nature of the management bureaucracy. They can make speedy decisions
when necessary. They fit an ancient human demand for a parental (tribal/feudal)
hierarchy where every person knows his place. It is valuable to know your
place, even if that place is temporary. It is galling to be held in place
against your will. This is why I teach about tyranny in the best possible way
by example. Even though you read these words after a passage of eons, my
tyranny will not be forgotten. My Golden Path assures this. Knowing my message,
I expect you to be exceedingly careful about the powers you delegate to any
-- The Stolen Journals
You know the myth of the Great Spice Hoard? Yes, I know about that story, too.
A majordomo brought it to me one day to amuse me. The story says there is a
hoard of melange, a gigantic hoard, big as a great mountain. The hoard is
concealed in the depths of a distant planet. It is not Arrakis, that planet.
It is not Dune. The spice was hidden there long ago, even before the First
Empire and the Spacing Guild. The story says Paul Muad'Dib went there and
lives yet beside the hoard, kept alive by it, waiting. The majordomo did not
understand why the story disturbed me.
-- The Stolen Journals
Memory has a curious meaning to me, a meaning I have hoped others might share.
It continually astonished me how people hide from their ancestral memories,
shielding themselves behind a thick barrier of mythos. Ohhh, I do not expect
them to seek the terrible immediacy of every living moment which I must
experience. I can understand that they might not want to be submerged in a mush
of petty ancestral details. You have reason to fear that your living moments
might be taken over by others. Yet, the meaning is there within those memories.
We carry all of our ancestry forward like a living wave, all of the hopes and
joys and griefs, the agonies and the exultations of our past. Nothing within
those memories remains completely without meaning or influence, not as long as
there is a humankind somewhere. We have that bright Infinity all around us,
that Golden Path of forever to which we can continually pledge our puny but
inspired allegiance.
-- The Stolen Journals
The realization of what I am occurs in the timeless awareness which does not
stimulate nor delude. I create a field without self or center, a field where
even death becomes only analogy. I desire no results. I merely permit this
field which has no goals nor desires, no perfections nor even visions of
achievements. In that field, omnipresent primal awareness is all. It is the
light which pours through the windows of my universe.
-- The Stolen Journals
One of the most terrible words in any language is Soldier. The synonyms parade
through our history: yogahnee, trooper, hussar, kareebo, cossack, deranzeef,
legionnaire, sardaukar, fish speaker... I know them all. They stand there in
the ranks of my memory to remind me: Always make sure you have the army with
-- The Stolen Journals
Do you know what guerrillas often say? They claim that their rebellions are
invulnerable to economic warfare because they have no economy, that they are
parasitic on those they would overthrow. The fools merely fail to assess the
coin in which they must inevitably pay. The pattern is inexorable in its
degenerative failures. You see it repeated in the systems of slavery, of
welfare states, of caste-ridden religions, of socializing bureaucracies-in
any system which creates and maintains dependencies. Too long a parasite and
you cannot exist without a host.
-- The Stolen Journals
In the cradle of our past, I lay upon my back in a cave so shallow I could
penetrate it only by squirming, not by crawling. There, by the dancing light of
a resin torch, I drew upon walls and ceiling the creatures of the hunt and the
souls of my people. How illuminating it is to peer backward through a perfect
circle at that ancient struggle for the visible moment of the soul. All time
vibrates to that call: "Here I am!" With a mind informed by artist-giants who
came afterward, I peer at handprints and flowing muscles drawn upon the rock
with charcoal and vegetable dyes. How much more we are than mere mechanical
events! And my anti-civil self demands: "Why is it that they do not want to
leave the cave?"
-- The Stolen Journals
The Duncans sometimes ask if I understand the exotic ideas of our past?
And if I understand them, why can't I explain them? Knowledge, the Duncans
believe, resides only in particulars. I try to tell them that all words are
plastic. Word images begin to distort in the instant of utterance. Ideas
imbedded in a language require that particular language for expression.
This is the very essence of the meaning within the word exotic. See how it
begins to distort? Translation squirms in the presence of the exotic.
The Galach which I speak here imposes itself. It is an outside frame of
reference, a particular system. Dangers lurk in all systems. Systems
incorporate the unexamined beliefs of their creators. Adopt a system, accept
its beliefs, and you help strengthen the resistance to change. Does it
serve any purpose for me to tell the Duncans that there are no languages
for some things? Ahhh! But the Duncans believe that all languages are mine.
-- The Stolen Journals
Given enough time for the generations to evolve, the predator produces
particular survival adaptations in its prey which, through the circular
operation of feedback, produce changes in the predator which again change the
prey etcetera, etcetera, etcetera .... Many powerful forces do the same thing.
You can count religions among such forces.
-- The Stolen Journals
It required almost a thousand years before the dust of Dune's old planet-wide
desert left the atmosphere to be bound up in soil and water. The wind called
sandblaster has not been seen on Arrakis for some twenty-five hundred years.
Twenty billion tons of dust could be carried suspended in the wind of just one
of those storms. The sky often had a silvery look to it then. Fremen said:
"The desert is a surgeon cutting away the skin to expose what's underneath."
The planet and the people had layers. You could see them. My Sareer is but
a weak echo of what was. I must be the sandblaster today.
-- The Stolen Journals
Most civilization is based on cowardice. It's so easy to civilize by teaching
cowardice. You water down the standards which would lead to bravery.
You restrain the will. You regulate the appetites. You fence in the horizons.
You make a law for every movement. You deny the existence of chaos.
You teach even the children to breathe slowly. You tame.
-- The Stolen Journals
What is the most immediate danger to my stewardship? I will tell you.
It is a true visionary, a person who has stood in the presence of God
with the full knowledge of where he stands. Visionary ecstasy releases
energies which are like the energies of sex-uncaring for anything
except creation. One act of creation can be much like another.
Everything depends upon the vision.
-- The Stolen Journals
You cannot understand history unless you understand its flowings, its
currents and the ways leaders move within such forces. A leader tries to
perpetuate the conditions which demand his leadership. Thus, the leader
requires the outsider. I caution you to examine my career with care.
I am both leader and outsider. Do not make the mistake of assuming that I
only created the Church which was the State. That was my function as leader
and I had many historical models to use as pattern. For a clue to my role as
outsider, look at the arts of my time. The arts are barbaric. The favorite
poetry? The Epic. The popular dramatic ideal? Heroism. Dances? Wildly
abandoned. From Moneo's viewpoint, he is correct in describing this as
dangerous. It stimulates the imagination. It makes people feel the lack of
that which I have taken from them. What did I take from them? The right to
participate in history.
-- The Stolen Journals
You think power may be the most unstable of all human achievements?
Then what of the apparent exceptions to this inherent instability?
Some families endure. Very powerful religious bureaucracies have been known
to endure. Consider the relationship between faith and power. Are they
mutually exclusive when each depends upon the other? The Bene Gesserit have
been reasonably secure within the loyal walls of faith for thousands of
years. But where has their power gone?
-- The Stolen Journals
Think of it as plastic memory, this force within you which trends you and your
fellows toward tribal forms. This plastic memory seeks to return to its ancient
shape, the tribal society. It is all around you-the feudatory, the diocese, the
corporation, the platoon, the sports club, the dance troupes, the rebel cell,
the planning council, the prayer group . . . each with its master and servants,
its host and parasites. And the swarms of alienating devices (including these
very words!) tend eventually to be enlisted in the argument for a return to
"those better rimes." I despair of teaching you other ways. You have square
thoughts which resist circles.
-- The Stolen Journals
What am I eliminating? The bourgeois infatuation with peaceful conservation
of the past. This is a binding force, a thing which holds humankind into one
vulnerable unit in spite of illusionary separations across parsecs of space.
If I can find the scattered bits, others can find them. When you are
together, you can share a common catastrophe. You can be exterminated
together. Thus, I demonstrate the terrible danger of a gliding, passionless
mediocrity, a movement without ambitions or aims. I show you that entire
civilizations can do this thing. I give you eons of life which slips gently
toward death without fuss or stirring, without even asking 'Why?' I show you
the false happiness and the shadow-catastrophe called Leto, the God
Emperor. Now, will you learn the real happiness?
-- The Stolen Journals
In all of my universe I have seen no law of nature, unchanging and inexorable.
This universe presents only changing relationships which are sometimes seen as
laws by short-lived awareness. These fleshly sensoria which we call self are
ephemera withering in the blaze of infinity, fleetingly aware of temporary
conditions which confine our activities and change as our activities change.
If you must label the absolute, use it's proper name: Temporary.
-- The Stolen Journals