GP - Necessary?

    Leto II’s plan for the survival of mankind

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Re: GP - Necessary?

Postby Olympos » 31 Aug 2010 12:24

And, ah .... weren't the Harkonnens nobles?
All rebels are closet aristocrats.

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Re: GP - Necessary?

Postby Freakzilla » 31 Aug 2010 12:30

Olympos wrote:And, ah .... weren't the Harkonnens nobles?


No...

"There'll be much bloodshed soon," she said. "The Harkonnens won't rest
until they're dead or my Duke destroyed. The Baron cannot forget that Leto is a
cousin of the royal blood--no matter what the distance--while the Harkonnen
titles came out of the CHOAM pocketbook.
But the poison in him, deep in his
mind, is the knowledge that an Atreides had a Harkonnen banished for cowardice
after, the Battle of Corrin."

~Dune
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Re: GP - Necessary?

Postby Smiley » 18 Dec 2014 01:25

I had this great post all typed up and then my computer blinked and it is gone. Damn.


I think in all the visions Leto saw humanity was vunerable to extiction. He mentions three choices that I am not going to type up again, and I think they all lead to civil war except the Golden Path. Ghani and Leto seem to think that Paul fucked everything up, and even The Preacher seems to be fighting what he did. Not seeing the extiction event, Paul seemed to like the destroy Muad'Dib's godhead timeline. This and the other two seem to lead to civil war or people continue to play the prescience game till the species fucks up and we get Ixian hunter seekers. Everything going on in CoD points to a civil war about to happen. Basically my point is that Paul saw the universe heading to stagnation, tried to fix it and got cold feet. Leto saw humanity, if not dying as still being vunerable, and he decided vunerable meant dead. There may have been multiple reasons why humanity would die out, and the Hunter Seekers event was the one he created and prevented, because it was the most dramtic. But it was only one. Finally, he did not choose to exist, and if his existence was the lynch pin, I think the blame goes back to Paul for leaving things in a mess, but you could argue that he had little choice in the matter as well.
I don't think Leto wanted to be the God Emperor, but saw no way out of it. If his craziness led to it, then he could have just opted out somehow and not created this future. I think the oracle creates the future by thier actions, not just seeing it. The Guild made a choice to take the safe course. Paul made his choices because he thought he had to. Leto saw many possibilities and choose one. The other possibility is that they are guided by Fate of some kind, the man thinking he controls the Oracle but the Oracle controls him. Now this is becomming a ramble, so I'll stop here.

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Re: GP - Necessary?

Postby Freakzilla » 18 Dec 2014 07:43

The empire WAS in a state of rebellion when Leto ascended, that's why he needed the Sardaukar so badly, to put it down.

Paul's Jihad was a temporary fix at best, but like Leto said, his vision wasn't broad enough.
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Re: GP - Necessary?

Postby Smiley » 18 Dec 2014 10:55

Exactly. This upheaval and the pursuit of Oracles made the Golden Path necessary, not Leto's craziness. Sorry, that was what I was getting to.

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Re: GP - Necessary?

Postby georgiedenbro » 18 Dec 2014 11:17

I give Paul more credit than that (of course :D ).

I think he saw certain problems in the universe and did what made sense to do within the common world view - rise to power and use that power to change things for the better. What Paul learned very quickly is that the fact that one man even can rise to power and make changes was part of the problem. By achieving the greatest power in the universe all he did was to perpetuate the reality that pyramid power structures can never help to change anything. In other words, having a central authority can never fix the problems involved in the abuse of central authority. And so Paul instead became the Preacher, to preach against power structures and godhead. The main difference between Leto and Paul is simply that Leto saw the need for the Golden Path as a way to safeguard humanity; he invented a noble end for rising to power over others. And ultimately Leto's Golden Path was all about removing the possibility of a central authority ever again, and so it was accepting his role in the trap of power in order to stop all future potential for central power again, just as the BG lesson of staying in a trap dictates.

Paul's weakness, apparently, was his lack of wanting to look into the futures involving the Golden Path because it was too cruel, and because he wouldn't have ever chosen to go down a path where he knowingly was committing a wrong, even for a noble end. Leto, being a real Fremen, was capable of getting past this. But I wouldn't at all classify it as Paul having cold feet or being afraid or anything; rather, he was in a sense too noble for humanity's good - they needed someone rougher to get the job done.
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Re: GP - Necessary?

Postby Freakzilla » 18 Dec 2014 13:11

He saw the possibility of the metamorphosis but not that doing so would save humanity. Therefore, he wouldn't see the need for such a thing to be prevented after he went into the sand, the Golden Path. His long rule may have made future humanity very weary of common rule and may have resulted in a scattering but he didn't know that this was preventing extinction. In his own mind he would just be an even greater tyrant and not holy.
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Re: GP - Necessary?

Postby Smiley » 18 Dec 2014 16:08

Freakzilla wrote:I posted this comment in a BG topic but thought it might deserve its own.

I like y'all to poke holes in it... if you can:

... how do we know the GP was necessary?

Leto says so.

Paul didn't see it.

Now, I'm not saying Leto WAS the threat of extinction but that maybe his vision of one is what created the threat. There was quite a bit of time Leto spent in CoD severing all timelines except ones that lead to the begining of the GP. How do we know those other timelines didn't have extinction in them?

Just like Paul chose the Jihad over the end of House Atreides, Leto may have chosen the GP for similar reasons. But instead of saving the Atreides, he makes everyone Atreides.

Sure, he saved humankind. I'm not saying he didn't. Just maybe he chose the path that lead to extinction for the sole purpose of doing so.

In effect, the GP was a bigger, better prescient trap that he had the solution for.



So, back on topic a little bit, we can infere that it was neccesary based on the fact that he did not seem keen on doing it. He practically begs Namri to kill him, perhaps in hopes that he will not have to do the whole God Emperor thing. Four thousand years of being alone sounds worse than death. If Namri kills him, the BG would try to breed Ghani to someone and there are still Atreides. Or if he just lives and dies as an Emperor, he seems to have seen the flow of humanity extinguish.

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Re: GP - Necessary?

Postby Freakzilla » 18 Dec 2014 17:36

Smiley wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:I posted this comment in a BG topic but thought it might deserve its own.

I like y'all to poke holes in it... if you can:

... how do we know the GP was necessary?

Leto says so.

Paul didn't see it.

Now, I'm not saying Leto WAS the threat of extinction but that maybe his vision of one is what created the threat. There was quite a bit of time Leto spent in CoD severing all timelines except ones that lead to the begining of the GP. How do we know those other timelines didn't have extinction in them?

Just like Paul chose the Jihad over the end of House Atreides, Leto may have chosen the GP for similar reasons. But instead of saving the Atreides, he makes everyone Atreides.

Sure, he saved humankind. I'm not saying he didn't. Just maybe he chose the path that lead to extinction for the sole purpose of doing so.

In effect, the GP was a bigger, better prescient trap that he had the solution for.



So, back on topic a little bit, we can infere that it was neccesary based on the fact that he did not seem keen on doing it. He practically begs Namri to kill him, perhaps in hopes that he will not have to do the whole God Emperor thing. Four thousand years of being alone sounds worse than death. If Namri kills him, the BG would try to breed Ghani to someone and there are still Atreides. Or if he just lives and dies as an Emperor, he seems to have seen the flow of humanity extinguish.


Sure, but my point was, what if humankind wouldn't have gone extinct without Leto's vision of the GP? Like infecting a population with a virus just to sell them the cure.
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Re: GP - Necessary?

Postby georgiedenbro » 18 Dec 2014 17:56

Freakzilla wrote:Sure, but my point was, what if humankind wouldn't have gone extinct without Leto's vision of the GP? Like infecting a population with a virus just to sell them the cure.


This was sort of my question as well before. All we know is that Paul didn't see the need; we don't know why. Paul guesses that he missed it because he was generally avoiding dwelling on the paths involving him being a God Emperor. But of course Paul's guess could be wrong; the need for the GP could have only begun once Leto was born. At the moment of Leto's birth he and Ghani all but took away Paul's vision from him; none of Paul's visions involved there being any Leto. Leto, then, was an unexpected element, and anything new he brought to the table wouldn't necessarily have been foreseeable by Paul.

We know that an oracle can see the path another oracle leaves even if the other oracle is invisible; but does this hold if he doesn't even know the other oracle exists? Remember how in Dune Paul and the Guildsmen all saw a nexus verging on the final scene of the book, beyond which none of them could see the result? We assume this nexus was due to the uncertain result of Paul's combat with Feyd, but perhaps it also involved the unpredictable nature of Count Fenring's choice. Paul effectively didn't know Fenring existed, after all. He knew his name, no doubt, but not anything about him or his future. I think present information matters just as much to an oracle's abilities as does peering into the future, which Edric as much as says in DM when he says that prescience isn't a replacement for conventional sources of information like spies.

So yeah, I think it could be the case that Leto himself generated the need for the GP, in order to then solve it. The Scattering seems to have been a good result regardless, but Paul may not have necessarily been wrong in his reasons to not do it himself.
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Re: GP - Necessary?

Postby Smiley » 18 Dec 2014 18:15

So, no vision no extinction?

I don't think so because he saw the other options that did not lead to him suffering. If all he did was solve a problem that he created, he could have just not done it. Also, wouldn't one of the future Atreides have figured it out and called him on it if that were true?
Also it seems from what was going with humanity in the first three books, at the very least stagnation was inevitable. Stagnation leaves the species vunerable to extinction.

"'There was no moral grandeur in my father's life, Namri; only a local trap which he built for himself."

This suggests that Paul did not see the extinction clearly because he locked himself into one vision, and could not clearly see the consequences afterwards. If he had been able to see it, we'd have confirmation.





(btw, I think your sig pic gave me a nightmare, or at least it was the person in the nightmare being weird. yes, I know it is Mohiam from Eye, but my brain made it a weird EyeGore supernatural thing out of it. Been reading these boards too much, perhaps..)

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Re: GP - Necessary?

Postby Suk on this » 25 Feb 2021 15:12

Olympos wrote:It's an interesting question to me because I've always had this nagging doubt about Leto ... what if all his objectively evil acts as the God Emperor are a result of him being every bit as nuts as Alia, but with a much better cover story?

'Oh I'm not really a tyrannical monster crushing everything in my path because I'm an Abomination .... it's all for the Golden Path, trust me!'

For the people being oppressed by Fish Speaker force of arms, they might well be thinking of Nicholson's quote from The Departed:

"When I was your age they would say we can become cops, or criminals. Today, what I'm saying to you is this: when you're facing a loaded gun, what's the difference?"


This makes most sense to me after reading God Emperor. Leto pretty much says as much at the end of CoD, that he has taken to Harum...and then describes Harum's despotism. In Messiah, Paul confronts the idea that prescient visions are a trap. And, his not having seen the extinction event which Leto foresees... does that not suggest that it is Leto that has brought that outcome into existence?

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Re: GP - Necessary?

Postby Freakzilla » 26 Feb 2021 12:37

I think Paul didn't see the extinction because he would have had to see a future where he lived but didn't take on the sandtrout skin and I don't think there was one. At least not one where he was emperor. Locking himself onto the path that gave Chani a long enough life to birth the twins destroyed that one.
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Re: GP - Necessary?

Postby Suk on this » 28 Feb 2021 19:12

Freakzilla wrote:I think Paul didn't see the extinction because he would have had to see a future where he lived but didn't take on the sandtrout skin and I don't think there was one. At least not one where he was emperor. Locking himself onto the path that gave Chani a long enough life to birth the twins destroyed that one.


But he saw the Golden Path, he recognised what that was - he was not blind to that possible future, so why if he had seen it, did he not see the extinction event. Could it be that what he had in mind for the Golden Path (how he would behave as God Emperor) was different from Leto's conception (I might say Leto/Harum's conception). Could it be that what they were to do from that position was so different that the latter's created the potential extinction event - a form of rebellion in extremis. In fact Leto tells Paul that he is Atreides AND Fremen, Paul could not have behaved the way that Leto does - Idaho says it himself about Leto's rule - this is not Atreides.

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Re: GP - Necessary?

Postby georgiedenbro » 11 Jun 2021 19:40

I think that Paul definitely saw the possibility to extend his life and take on the sandtrout skin, and even the potential to exert hydrolic despotism. But he differed from Leto II's conception of it in two ways:

1) Paul didn't see the extinction, and thus the necessity for the cruelty.
2) Paul viewed the cruelty as being un-Atreides, since he was ultimately more Atreides than Fremen (unlike Leto II).

Now about (1), there are a couple of possibilities to explain it as far as I can tell: (a) Paul's vision was just less powerful than Leto II's. The text in CoD sort of implies this, but it's not that clear; or (b) Paul didn't see it because he didn't see Leto II, and Leto II's existence is somehow tied to the potential for the extinction.

My inclination is to go with (b), especially since failing to foresee Leto II is kind of a big deal in terms of understanding the future possibilities. It's important to remember that, unlike mentats that remove themselves from the equation, the KH sees the future as determined by his future choices in it. So he makes the future by choosing an outcome. But this can only be valid in terms of accuracy if that KH has the predominant power in that area of the universe. Even putting aside the fact that Leto II's birth blinded Paul (or something to that effect), even if they had both lived together in some capacity the future wouldn't have been knowable to either of them in the same way, since their visions could diverge and their individual choices would block the ability for the other to see those possibilities. So in essence I think the upcoming birth of Leto II was such an enormous black hole in Paul's vision of the future that basically anything involving Leto II directly would be invisible to him.

We've discussed it before here, but it makes a sort of sense to think of Leto II as actually causing the extinction he needed to stop. After all, the choice to rule despotically for thousands of years would certainly drive some to take desperate measures to take him down. And one measure that seems completely logical would be to design a learning machine - one that a KH couldn't predict due to it not having a human intelligence. It seems like a perfect brute-force plan to attack him (and as a result, accidentally wipe out humanity when the AI advances too far). The plan that did ultimately succeed was far more subtle and crafty, so much so that even seeing it coming it would still work.
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Re: GP - Necessary?

Postby jardindegivre » 02 Sep 2021 23:40

If I remember correctly, Paul did saw a vision of the "Ixian" holocaust, though he did not get the perspective Leto allowed himself to see by the same selfless act of become the Worm. Paul did not see the possibilities - or he refused to acknowledge it - offered by creating Kralizec. There was too much of a noble in Paul for him to even consider the choices that his son made.

GEoD is the culmination of a masterpiece. FH wanted to demonstrate, under extraordinary circumstances, what desperation could make people do. Paul was an antihero, that much, FH said multiple time. Leto was the next possible outcome : something beyond evil that is necessary. I think that is the fundamental theme that GEoD illustrates.

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Re: GP - Necessary?

Postby famicommander » 04 Sep 2021 11:39

My thought was that the golden path was absolutely necessary and that Leto wasn't acting to prevent ONE extinction event but rather to eliminate all the big vulnerabilities to extinction.

Herbert seems to take the position that "maleness" as it was defined in the book trends towards physical destruction while "femaleness" trends towards stagnation. So that's why he swapped the gender roles, making the Fish Speakers the army and keeping the males as domestic types. That's one small aspect.

Another aspect is prescience. As a predator Leto's function was to create the conditions in society which would organically produce someone who was capable of killing him (Siona). And he had to create someone that could kill him even if he were resisting; it is my belief that he didn't know exactly when he was going to die. He decided to have the wedding where he did because he anticipated Duncan may attack due to the wedding, but he didn't know that for sure and chose the location so that if the attack did come, Leto would have the highest chance of dying near water. Siona was able to create a plan that Leto couldn't completely anticipate. Leto figured that if society produced someone capable of killing him, then it would be impossible for any one person to wield that much power again in the future. Like a vaccine, Leto was trying to produce "antibodies" in society against his brand of tyranny.

The scattering was another big aspect, of course, and the easiest to understand: if humans are spread everywhere and in disparate groups, it's not possible for one person to rule them all and lead them all into folly.

And I think both Paul and the BG sensed the Golden Path and that it was "better" for humanity in the long run, but neither could see far or clearly enough to understand that the golden path was nothing less than the survival of humanity. Neither Paul nor the BG would accept the horrible price of the Golden Path (for Paul, both the infinite division of the sandworms and the cost in brutality; the BGs simply the latter) because neither of them understood that it was absolutely necessary. Paul gave up and left the task to his children while the BG priortized the survival of their order over what needed to be done.

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Re: GP - Necessary?

Postby Serkanner » 05 Sep 2021 03:14

Like a vaccine, Leto was trying to produce "antibodies" in society against his brand of tyranny.


The Siona gene protects humanity against prescient rulers. Leto succeeded.
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Re: GP - Necessary?

Postby georgiedenbro » 10 Sep 2021 09:21

famicommander wrote:My thought was that the golden path was absolutely necessary and that Leto wasn't acting to prevent ONE extinction event but rather to eliminate all the big vulnerabilities to extinction.


As far as I know the books don't go as far as to say this. He DID prevent the one extinction event that we know of, and he did set things in motion to eliminate altogether one sort of problem for humanity. But if the books (especially books 4-6) tell us anything, it's that no one plan can account for all the curveballs that time will throw at you. Constant adaptation is the only chance for long-term survival.

Herbert seems to take the position that "maleness" as it was defined in the book trends towards physical destruction while "femaleness" trends towards stagnation.


I don't think I agree with this statement. The male/female divide when it comes to past/present/future seems to have holes in knowledge as the main divide; men lack awareness of the past, women of the future, and consequently both of them of 'the now.' But the man/woman issue regarding the Fish Speakers seems harder to precisely nail down.

So that's why he swapped the gender roles, making the Fish Speakers the army and keeping the males as domestic types. That's one small aspect.


There is the one issue Leto II named about men tending toward rape and pillage, which is why an all-female army could be kept in better discipline. But I hardly think it says anywhere that men are 'domestic' types. They do all sorts of things, just not being part of Leto II's army. But there's another reason for the Fish Speakers being all-female, which has to do with siaynoq, and which wasn't wrapped up yet by the end up CH:D as a concept.

Another aspect is prescience. As a predator Leto's function was to create the conditions in society which would organically produce someone who was capable of killing him (Siona).


Sort of, but I think it was more a question of producing someone that no one could find. So less about their aggressive potential, and more about their defensive potential.

The scattering was another big aspect, of course, and the easiest to understand: if humans are spread everywhere and in disparate groups, it's not possible for one person to rule them all and lead them all into folly.


This is certainly in keeping with the themes in Dune and Messiah, but Leto II's agenda seems to primarily be to ensure that all of the spread out groups can't be hunted down and destroyed.

And I think both Paul and the BG sensed the Golden Path and that it was "better" for humanity in the long run, but neither could see far or clearly enough to understand that the golden path was nothing less than the survival of humanity.


The BG didn't see the GP at all until Leto II showed it to them. They did have long-term goals, but those goals lacked 'noble purpose.' Paul saw the technical possibility of the GP, but *not* that it was better for anyone. He saw no purpose or benefit to it at all, since he didn't see the extinction event. To him it was just a cruel thing he could do, but otherwise pointless.

Neither Paul nor the BG would accept the horrible price of the Golden Path (for Paul, both the infinite division of the sandworms and the cost in brutality; the BGs simply the latter) because neither of them understood that it was absolutely necessary. Paul gave up and left the task to his children while the BG priortized the survival of their order over what needed to be done.


I personally disagree that Paul gave up, although perhaps this is debatable. I think he did the noblest thing he could do given his knowledge at the time, which was to finally cease ruling a tyranny and just disappear. The only reason to go on being a tyrant would have bene if there was a noble purpose behind it, and he saw none. So it wasn't that he didn't understand that it was necessary, but rather he knew it wasn't. Or at least, it wasn't based on what appeared to be his complete knowledge. Turns out the existence of Leto II changed all of that, but he didn't know it until Leto was born.
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Re: GP - Necessary?

Postby Cpt. Aramsham » 11 Sep 2021 03:05

Tim O'Reilly has a good discussion of this topic in his book, and I agree with his main points.

When Leto II talk's about humanity's extinction, I think what he is primarily referring to is death by stagnation, which Herbert feels is represented by the stasis of prescience. (His often-repeated sermon that if you could see the future perfectly, it would be a kind of living death.)

In Dune Messiah, Paul escapes this fate and saves the universe by giving up his prescience and accepting death on his own terms. Somehow, this means Alia also loses her prescience (the siblings being linked in some mystical way). It's tragic, but also triumphant.

Then in Children of Dune, Frank Herbert wishes to make his point again, more forcefully, and with a new proposed solution: it's not enough for one leader to reject stagnation, humankind needs to be taught a lesson "in its bones" to always resist stagnation. That is Leto's Golden Path, which is not conceived of in Dune Messiah or Dune. To set up Leto as the greater answer with Paul as his foil, and tie it in with the earlier books, Paul's end in Children of Dune is retconned into a complete failure.

(This means that either interpretation of Paul is valid, depending on which book you follow.)

Finally, in God Emperor of Dune Leto sees humanity wiped out by Ixian hunter-seekers, but I think the key thing about this vision is what he observes:

"The Ixians do not recognize that machine makers always run the risk of becoming totally machine. This is ultimate sterility. Machines always fail … given time."

And:

"Then you fear the Ixians?"
"Of course I do! They can invent catastrophe."
"Then what could you do?"
"Run faster. History is a constant race between invention and catastrophe. Education helps but it's never enough. You also must run."

In other words, this future is just one particular catastrophe that can result from stagnation. The Golden Path is not a 3,500-year plan just to save us from hunter-seekers. They're just a symptom; Leto sought to address the problem at the root.

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Re: GP - Necessary?

Postby georgiedenbro » 17 Sep 2021 11:00

Philosophically I think I agree with all of that. Mechanically, it's not quite clear whether GeoD implies that Leto II wanted to guarantee humanity's physical survival only, or whether he meant the quality of life for humanity. I got the impression he meant physical survival, because the problem with stagnation isn't so much that it sucks, but that it sets you up to be physically destroyed at some point. Stagnation takes away the ability to "run" as Leto put it, meaning the universe will eventually get the better of you and you'll be screwed. But the question is whether mobility is a means to an end (preventing the death of the species) or an end unto itself (bettering the quality of life due to being flexibly adaptive). Personally my take has always been that Leto's goals were both, but I know some that here think it was primarily about the survival of the species.
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